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.
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|