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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The answer of what player was the best-of the-best during the 2019 will be answered on Saturday, June 6, as the 2020 Cutino Award presented annually by the Olympic Club in San Francisco will be awarded to either Bucknell University’s Rade Joksimovic (Sr., Novi Sad, Serbia/Gimnazija Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj), Ben Hallock of Stanford University or Luke Pavillard of University of the Pacific.

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 women’s season caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Cutino Award for women’s competition will not be presented in 2020.  The women’s award will return in 2021.

Streaming coverage of the men’s Cutino Award presentation will be available starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/5:00 p.m. Pacific via USA Water Polo at Facebook.com/USAWP and YouTube.com/usawp.

Joksimovic will aim to make history and become the first men’s player from outside California to earn the sport’s highest honor.

Arguably the best water polo player in the history of the Bison program, Joksimovic is coming off a senior season in which he earned Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) Division I First Team All-America honors.  The inaugural Bucknell water polo player to earn First Team All-America recognition, the laurel marked his fourth All-America nod after previously garnering Second Team honors in 2018, Honorable Mention in 2017 and Third Team honors in 2016. The senior joined Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Hall of Fame member Scott Schulte as the only multi-time All-America selection in Bucknell men’s water polo history last season, and now stands alone as the only Bison to ever earn a spot on the All-American teams three times.

A four-time Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) Player of the Year honors for the fourth straight year and the MAWPC Championship Player of the Tournament. Joksimovic proved an instrumental part in helping Bucknell win the title to advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships for just the second time since 1985. In the Bucknell record books, Joksimovic finished his Bucknell career second in points (714), second in goals (527), fifth in assists (187), first in steals (317), and tenth in ejections drawn (124). The senior also finished his career having started the most games in Bucknell history (120).

Joksimovic compiled 139 goals this season while adding 42 assists for 181 points, the sixth-most in a single season in school history. One of Joksimovic’s finest moments came in the NCAA Tournament win at No. 9 and previously undefeated Harvard University, where he scored six goals en route to helping Bucknell advance to the quarterfinal stage in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

The sole athlete named to the 2019 ACWPC First, Second or Third Team All-America teams from an institution not in the state of California, he goes down as the most honored men’s water polo athlete from any institution outside the state of the California in the history of the sport as the four-time MAWPC First Team selection and MAWPC Championship All-Tournament First Team pick (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019); 2016 MAWPC Rookie of the Year, 2016 MAWPC Championship Rookie of the Tournament; 2016, 2018 and 2019 MAWPC Championship Most Valuable Player; 11-time MAWPC Player of the Week; seven-time MAWPC Rookie of the Week; and two-time MAWPC Rookie of the Week concluded his tenure among the best-of the-best in the history of NCAA water polo.

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.

In the history of the award, only one men’s and/or women’s athlete – Ashleigh Johnson of Princeton University – from an institution outside California has won the award:

Year Men’s winner School Year Women’s winner School
1999 Sean Kern UCLA 1999 Bernice Orwig USC
2000 Sean Kern UCLA 2000 Aniko Pelle USC
2001 Tony Azevedo Stanford University 2001 Coralie Simmons UCLA
2002 Tony Azevedo Stanford University 2002 Brenda Villa Stanford University
2003 Tony Azevedo Stanford University 2003 Jackie Frank Stanford University
2004 Tony Azevedo Stanford University 2004 Moriah van Norman USC
2005 Juraj Zatovic USC 2005 Natalie Golda UCLA
2006 John Mann University of California, Berkeley 2006 Lauren Wenger USC
2007 Tim Hutten UC Irvine 2007 Kelly Rulon UCLA
2008 J. W. Krumpholz USC 2008 Courtney Mathewson UCLA
2009 J. W. Krumpholz USC 2009 Kami Craig USC
2010 Ivan Rackov University of California, Berkeley 2010 Kami Craig USC
2011 Joel Dennerley USC 2011 Annika Dries Stanford University
2012 Balazs Erdelyi University of the Pacific 2012 Kiley Neushul Stanford University
2013 Balazs Erdelyi University of the Pacific 2013 Melissa Seidemann Stanford University
2014 Balazs Erdelyi University of the Pacific 2014 Annika Dries Stanford University
2015 Kostas Genidounias USC 2015 Kiley Neushul Stanford University
2016 Garrett Danner UCLA 2016 Stephania Haralabidis USC
2017 McQuin Baron USC 2017 Ashleigh Johnson Princeton University
2018 Luca Cupido University of California, Berkeley 2018 Amanda Longan USC
2019 Ben Hallock Stanford University 2019 Makenzie Fischer Stanford University
Collegiate Water Polo Association