Las Vegas dealt a solid pair of threes to junior Chris Cameron this past weekend — but not at the poker table.
Cameron took third place all-around at the Winter Cup Invitational with an overall score of 87.600 to earn his third consecutive spot on the U.S. Senior National Team. Cameron’s performance is the highest finish ever for any Michigan gymnast.
The Winter Cup Challenge is a premier invitational which sets the stage for 136 gymnasts to compete for the U.S. National Team invitation. The event consists of four sessions, three of which took place last Thursday. The top 42 gymnasts then move on to day two, when only 15 men make the national selection.
“Usually you have a little fatigue left over from the first day of competition,” Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. “But Cameron was really strong, which is just a great characteristic to develop. He is good at putting on the blinders and blocking out distractions during the competition.”
Cameron set a season high on the parallel bars and took second place in both the pommel horse and floor events. He has scored a 15.000 or better in all five of his floor routines this season, making him one of the top floor competitors in the country.
Six other Wolverines joined Cameron in representing the No. 1 Michigan squad at the Las Vegas Sports Center. Senior Mel Anton Santander and junior Thomas Kelley both competed in the all-around, receiving scores of 85.050 and 83.000, respectively.
Several Michigan gymnasts excelled in their single events, including fifth-year senior Kent Caldwell. Caldwell set a season best on the floor with a 15.250 in his first-ever chance to compete for a spot on the national team.
“This has been one of my goals for a long time, probably since I was five years old,” Caldwell said. “So even just competing in a meet like this was a huge goal of mine.”
Junior Ian Makowske also made his first appearance at the national level. Although Makowske struggled on the floor and pommel horse, he was able to put together a strong high bar routine in the big arena. Makowske broke his career best on the high bar for the third time this season with a mark of 14.350.
“Overall, the team had a really great showing.” Makowske said. “It was an honor to be able to represent Michigan at something like this and step on the national stage wearing the block ‘M’.”