Local athlete named MVP of pro ultimate frisbee league

Submitted photos – Kaela Helton was named MVP of the Women’s Ultimate League.

By Ray Hamill — A former H-DNL student-athlete has been making quite a name for herself in the sport of ultimate frisbee after taking it up as a second option when she first went to college.

Kaela (Jorgenson) Helton was a two-sport athlete during her time at Arcata High, competing in both soccer and track.

She began playing ultimate frisbee shortly after graduating in 2006 and has since developed into one of the top players in the nation.

This year, Helton was named MVP of the Women’s Ultimate League (WUL), one of two pro leagues in the USA.

She also competes for Team USA and is coming off a record-setting season playing for the San Diego Super Bloom.

But it almost never happened for Helton, who had other ideas when she headed south to UC Santa Barbara after graduating high school. 

“My plan was to play soccer,” said Helton, who was first introduced to ultimate frisbee by a friend while at Arcata High. “But I missed the tryouts by one day, so I went to try out for the ultimate team.”

Helton enjoyed plenty of success in college, leading her team to the final at the national tournament all four years she competed.

She admits that as soon as she got hooked on ultimate frisbee, it was “the end of all other sports for me.”

The WUL was founded in 2020 and has eight teams competing in five different states.

Helton is a team captain for the San Diego Super Bloom, who lost the 2023 championship game to the Seattle Tempest, and she is coming off a sensational season with the team.

According to the league, “Helton’s offensive and defensive contributions and exceptional all-around performance have made her a true standout in the Western Ultimate League.

“She is the only player in the league to achieve the impressive feat of recording 21 goals and 21 assists during the regular season. 

“She also finished third in total yards (receiving yards and throwing yards combined) and recorded 13 blocks, showcasing her dominance on both offense and defense.”

Helton also competed for Team USA at the World Games in Alabama last summer, making the national team roster on her third attempt and helping them to a gold medal.

She will be back in action with the Team USA beach team at a world tournament this fall.

In the meantime, Helton is playing with her club team, The Flipside, and also is coaching the men’s professional team, the San Diego Growlers, in the American Ultimate Disc League.

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