For the first time two goalkeepers won the Cutino Award as the best players in college water polo. Both 2016 Olympians, USC’s McQuin Baron (North Tustin, CA/USC/Trojan) and Princeton’s Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/NYAC) earned the honors at a ceremony at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, CA on Saturday night. On the men’s side it is the second straight year that a goalie has won, following UCLA’s Garrett Danner last year, and marks the first win for USC since 2015 when Kostas Genidounias won for his work in the 2014 season.
For Johnson, it is the latest accolade in a star-studded run and her win is the first for an athlete from Princeton and a school outside of California. In the women’s game it is the first winner from a school other than Stanford, USC or UCLA. Johnson is also the first African-American to win the award in either men’s or women’s water polo. She won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games and followed that with Women’s Sports Foundation SportsWoman of the Year (Team) honors, AAU Sullivan Award Finalist status, an ESPNW #IMPACT25 selection, and Swimming World’s top female water polo player of the year honors among other recognition.
In the pool Baron piled up 247 saves during the 2016 season guiding USC to a 24-2 record and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament championship match. He was named MPSF Tournament MVP and named All-MPSF 1st Team. Johnson had a 22-4 record in her senior year recording 300 saves and a .693 save percentage. She was named All-CWPA 1st Team and finished her Princeton career as the all-time saves leader with 1,362.
Water Polo news courtesy of USA Water Polo.