Park City senior Jesse Helton signs with UNC Wilmington
Helton will compete in shot put, discus and hammer throw for the Seahawks
Park City High School senior Jesse Helton will be taking his talents to the East Coast, as he announced on Twitter on Friday that he had signed with the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Helton will compete on the Seahawks’ track and field team in the shot put, discus and hammer throw events.
“Honestly, it’s amazing,” Helton said. “I’ve been trying really hard overall in track to try to do something and been training a lot. It was a big relief when I got the offer and I signed and a super proud moment for me and my family.”
Helton is a two-sport athlete, as he was pancaking defensive linemen on Friday nights in the fall as an offensive lineman for the Miners. However, track and field has always been his primary sport. Helton has been hoping to continue his track-and-field career in college ever since his freshman year and made his dream a reality.
The senior finished in fifth place in the discus throw and 15th in shot put at last year’s Class 5A state championships. He plans on competing for the Miners in the spring as well.
North Carolina holds a special place in Helton’s heart, as his grandmother is from the area and he still has family there. Helton lost his grandmother to cancer right before the state track meet, and he feels that this is what she wanted.
“Everything was kind of up in the air, but one of the last things she told me was she wanted me to pursue (it) and she said she’d be happy wherever I went, whatever I did,” Helton said. “That’s where she was born, North Carolina, and she just loved everything about it. So I felt extreme gratitude and happiness towards making my family proud and also being very proud of myself.”
Helton also picked UNC Wilmington for its academics. He’s interested in marine biology and plans to major in it in college. The school is right by the beach, so it seemed like the perfect blend of athletics and academics.
Additionally, Helton was impressed by the coaching staff and its vision for the program.
“They have a great track program, they’re looking for new, young athletes to come into their program and really help out,” Helton said. “They said that I was someone that could do that, and I’m really excited to be able to do that with them and have that whole experience. I love their coaching and their coaching staff and how they coach their athletes, how they treat their athletes. It’s great overall.”
Still, Helton has some unfinished business. He’s looking forward to one more track season with the Miners this spring before heading out for the Tar Heel State.
“I’m very excited for my senior track season,” he said. “I cannot wait for it, it’s going to be exciting.”
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