Kevin Wolting of Cal men’s gymnastics heads to Las Vegas to compete in the 2015 Winter Cup Challenge

This year, the No. 6 Cal men’s gymnastics team will be sending junior Kevin Wolting to Las Vegas to compete in the 2015 Winter Cup Challenge from Feb. 19 to 21 at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. Wolting will be looking to make a statement in this year’s Winter Cup, and there’s no better place to do it than in Sin City.

The Winter Cup Challenge is the time for the best gymnasts in the country to compete against one another and see how they stack up against the best of the best. Wolting is having one of the best years of his career, highlighted by his recent accomplishment of becoming the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week.

Wolting was awarded this prestigious honor for winning the all-around competition Jan. 30, when the Bears faced 17th-ranked Arizona State. He ended the night with a career best score of 90.200, which tied for the third-highest score recorded in Cal history. This was highlighted by his impressive floor score of 15.500, which blew away the rest of the competition. Wolting did so well that his lowest score of the night was a strong 14.650, which he put up on both the pommel horse and rings. Wolting also set a career-record-high bar score this season of 15.200. More importantly, his contribution pushed the Bears to a program-record-breaking team score of 438.300, which resulted in a team victory. As co-captain, Wolting has been an important role model for his teammates to emulate all season.

“He’s a silent leader, and he shows you what you’re supposed to be doing in the gym by never complaining about anything, always having a positive attitude and just working extremely hard,” said head coach Brett McClure. “I believe this is the reason guys like to gravitate towards him, just because of the presence that he brings.”

The well-rounded skills of Wolting will make him a strong force in this year’s Winter Cup, especially when it comes to floor and high bar. His routines for these two events have been solid throughout his career. This was clearly seen in the Bears’ last tri-meet Feb. 7, when they traveled up north to face No. 17 ASU and No. 19 Washington. Wolting showed his consistency once again by finishing first overall, with a score of 87.100. He finished with an overall floor score of 14.750, second only to his teammate Kyle Zemeir.

The competition at this year’s Winter Cup Challenge will be much tougher than anything Wolting has faced this season.

There are several strong gymnasts Wolting will compete against in the 2015 Winter Cup, including Stanford rival Akash Modi. Modi recently set the NCAA record for his score of 16.150 on the parallel bars, which took place Friday, when Stanford competed against Arizona State. Wolting will need to perform better than he ever has if he’s hoping to beat competition such as Modi.

“He’s worked harder than most and has made tremendous progress over the years,” McClure said. “I believe he has every right to compete at this level and challenge for a spot on the national team.”

Alex Quintana covers gymnastics. Contact him at [email protected]