Across the Atlantic Ocean, more than 4,000 miles from his hometown of Munich, Germany, Felix Wolter has no trouble adjusting to life in the United States. In fact, according to his roommate Cobe Wiggins, it seems to be the other way around.
“It’s funny, because I would almost say the United States had to adapt to him,” Wiggins said with a laugh. “His personality was already so well suited to thrive in any environment, that when he arrived here, it was as if he had already hit his stride.”
The transition has been smooth for Wolter, who now plays both academically and athletically at Pitt. With an undergraduate degree and a decorated athletic career already under his belt, Wolter aims for bigger things and is relentless in his pursuit.
Wolter and Wiggins, two Pitt graduate students who are also teammates on the Panthers track team, know each other well. Wolter came to Pitt in 2020 with just two years of eligibility remaining and found himself rooming with Wiggins. The two hit it off immediately and have since traveled to Germany and France together last summer with the rest of their teammates.
Wolter said he couldn’t have asked for a better life situation considering he’s never needed so many people around him.
“I’m just a very simple person,” Wolter said. “I was very lucky with my bedroom situation here and got more or less the perfect setup as I was with three people from my team, in a house two minutes from the facility.”
Wolter said his transition to the United States was simple – there aren’t many differences between the two cultures. Additionally, he attributed the easy transition to being older than most other athletes when they get to college. As he has already completed his undergraduate studies at the Technical University of Munich, Wolter’s new environment has not been very stressful..
In addition to sharing the same living space and traveling together, Wolter and Wiggins are both multis for Pitt’s track and field team, which means they compete in events such as the heptathlon and decathlon. . These competitions are made up of seven or 10 separate events in which each athlete participates. Points are awarded after each individual event, culminating in a final score for each athlete.
Wolter showed last season that when healthy he doesn’t have a lot of weak points in these events. During the indoor season, he took heptathlon gold at the ACC Indoor Championships, winning three of seven events. Although he failed to win the NCAA Indoor Championships a few weeks later, he narrowly missed out on a podium finish, finishing fourth and notching three all-time top ten finishes in Pitt in the pole vault. , long jump and high jump.
Injuries ultimately kept Wolter out of the ACC Outdoor Championships that same year, but he still continued his dominance early in the season, winning eight of 10 decathlon events at the Virginia Challenge and setting a school record. in the event with 7,950 points.
According to assistant coach Alonzo Webb III, Wolter’s drive to continually improve has been “relentless” since arriving in Pittsburgh. He said it was this attitude of never being satisfied with anything he does that propelled Wolter to national success.
“He’s someone you have to turn around sometimes and say, ‘Hey man, take it easy today,'” Webb III said. “He doesn’t stop focusing until he’s really successful, and then when he’s successful he makes sure he’s consistent.”
So far this indoor season, Wolter is already setting new records for the Panthers. His 7.74 meter long jump at the Youngstown State Icebreaker was, at the time, the longest jump in the NCAA that season and the second longest in program history. His performance at the competition earned him his second career ACC Male Performer of the Week award.
As his college career draws to a close and his future draws closer, Wolter’s drive to succeed in graduate school only grows stronger. He was definitive in the presentation of his sporting goals for the next few years.
“The main focus would be the Paris Olympics in 2024, as long as my body holds out, and hopefully that will be the case,” Wolter said.
If it’s not the Olympics, Webb strongly believes there will be opportunities for Wolter to compete for Germany’s world championship team in the future. Webb III even stated that if Wolter decides to stay in track after his competitive days, there will be a coaching spot reserved for Wolter on Pitt’s multi-team.
“I want him to be a volunteer assistant for me and a coach too, because he’s a student of the sport,” Webb III said. “He cares a lot…he’s definitely the one who’s probably the most prepared just because he pays attention to everything.”
For as driven as Wolter has been his whole life with athletics, his dedication to academics has been just as high a priority. One of the main reasons he came to Pitt in the first place was so he could both compete full-time while also completing credits toward his Masters in Computer Science.
” The school system [in Germany] honestly is not designed to be able to do more than 20 hours of sport alongside education,” Wolter said. “Pitt was the best combination of studies and sports and that’s what I was looking for in the end.”
Wolter still doesn’t know if he will be able to secure a third year of Pitt eligibility for next season. In the meantime, his goal is to continue to perform at the highest level for the Panthers and in doing so, motivate his teammates to reach new heights as well.
“When you’re this successful, there’s something you do well,” Wiggins said. “Obviously other people want to replicate that and build on it to be even better.”