A pair of 2016 Olympians and — for the first time ever — two goalkeepers won the Peter J. Cutino Award, given annually to the best college water polo players.
USC’s McQuin Baron and Princeton’s Ashleigh Johnson were named men’s and women’s winners, respectively, at the Olympic Club in San Francisco on Saturday night.
Other finalists were UCLA’s Rachel Fattal and Stanford’s Maggie Steffens on the women’s side, both of whom joined Johnson on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. Blake Edwards of USC, and UCLA’s Garrett Danner and Ryder Roberts, were finalists on the men’s side.
Johnson, who made 51 total saves and won gold with the U.S. women at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, became the first women’s winner of the award from a school other than Stanford, USC or UCLA and the first African-American winner in either men’s or women’s water polo since the award was first presented in 1999. The Miami native was 22-4 with Princeton this season, her senior year, with 300 saves and a .693 save percentage.
Baron became the second goalkeeper to win the men’s award in a row, after Danner took the honors last year. The North Tustin, California, native amassed 247 saves and went 24-2 this season as a junior with USC to help the Trojans return to the NCAA title match. He was a member of the 2016 Olympic team that finished 10th in Rio.