The Peter J. Cutino Award honors the best in men’s and women’s college water polo, and this year, both recipients share two big things in common besides excelling in their sport.
Not only are men’s winner Ben Hallock and women’s recipient Makenzie Fischer Olympians, they also go to Stanford University. It’s the third time that Stanford swept the awards and the first time since 2003.
The pair were honored at a banquet on Saturday night at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Hallock, a redshirt sophomore, is the first men’s winner from Stanford since 2004 when five-time Olympian Tony Azevedo claimed his fourth such honor. Hallock scored 65 goals in 2018, leading the team in scoring for the second season in a row, and helped Stanford finish 21-3 and reach the national championship match for the first time since 2008. He was also named the National Player of the Year by the Association of College Water Polo Coaches. Hallock was one of the youngest members of Team USA at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
Fischer is the sixth woman from Stanford to win the Cutino Award. Highlights of her remarkable junior season included scoring in all 24 games in which she played, tallying a career-high 84 goals and helping the Cardinal win the national title. She was named NCAA Tournament MVP as well as the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches National Player of the Year and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year. She was a member of the 2016 women’s Olympic water polo team that won the gold medal in Rio and is currently with the national team in Budapest preparing for the FINA Super League Final.
Also nominated for the men were Cal’s Johnny Hooper and UCLA’s Alex Wolf.
The other women’s nominees included USC’s Amanda Longan, who beat out Fischer for the award last year, and Paige Hauschild.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.