Bucknell’s Rade Joksimovic, Stanford’s Ben Hallock and Pacific’s Luke Pavillard have been named as the three men’s finalists for the Peter J. Cutino Award, given annually to the top collegiate men’s and women’s water polo players by the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Only one player from an institution outside of California has ever received the Cutino Award on either the men’s or women’s side: goalie Ashleigh Johnson of Princeton in 2017.
Joksimovic claimed his fourth-straight Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference MVP honor in November. The Novi Sad, Serbia, native is the first ever Bucknell player nominated for the award. This coming after a season that saw him become Bucknell’s first-ever First Team All-American and three time All-American.
Joksimovic scored 139 goals and logged 42 assists in 2019. He finished his Bucknell career ranked first in steals (317) and games started (120), second in points (714) and goals (527) and fifth in assists (187). The senior led Bucknell its second straight MAWPC title and helped the Bison earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
Hallock, who was tabbed as the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches Player of the Year after leading Stanford to the 2019 NCAA title, earned his second straight Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year nod in November. The back-to-back accolade made him the first Cardinal player to garner two straight MVP honors since Tony Azevedo (2001-04).
The redshirt junior led Stanford with 73 goals, boosting his career tally to 194. Hallock registered multiple goals 18 times, including a career high eight vs. Cal (Nov. 7). All total, he racked up 76 points on the year and drew an MPSF leading 32 exclusions.
Pavillard, who picked up his third straight Golden Coast Conference Player of the Year nod in 2019, is up for the Cutino Award for the second time in the last three years.
Pavillard also was tabbed as a first team All-American after notching 54 goals, 27 steals and 27 assists in leading Pacific to the NCAA championship match. The redshirt senior led the GCC in goals per game (2.84), points per game (4.26) and steals per game (1.42), while ranking second in assists per game (1.42).
The 2020 women’s Cutino Award finalists are expected to be announced in late April after the NCAA cancelled the remainder of the collegiate season. Both the men’s and women’s awards are slated to be presented on June 6 at the Olympic Club.
About the Cutino Award
The “Heisman” of water polo, the award was first presented in 1999 by the Trustees of the Olympic Club of San Francisco, founded in 1860 to support amateur athletics in the Bay area and America’s oldest athletic club. Nominees for the Cutino Award are selected by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) water polo coaches. These coaches vote for three players as nominees, none of which can be members of their own team. The eventual winner is voted on again by the same coaches, who now rank the nominees and can vote for members of their own teams. The Olympic Club, which tabulates the votes, does not release the number of votes to avoid manipulation of the totals. Each winner receives a brass and walnut trophy, and the perpetual trophy is on display at the Olympic Club of San Francisco.