By Sofia Scekic
On Saturday, redshirt junior Ben Hallock won the 2020 Peter J. Cutino Award for the second consecutive season. The award is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate water polo player.
No women’s Cutino winner was selected in 2020 because the women’s season was canceled due to COVID-19. The 2019 winner was then-junior Makenzie Fisher from Stanford; she is currently on a leave of absence to train with Team USA.
Hallock is only the fifth male player to win the Cutino Award multiple times and is the second Cardinal player to do so. Tony Azevado ’04 won the award in four consecutive seasons from 2001-04.
The other 2020 nominees were Luke Pavillard from University of the Pacific and Rade Joksimovic from Bucknell University.
The Studio City, California, native led the Cardinal with 73 goals and was instrumental in the team’s quest to its first NCAA Championship title since 2002. Playing in the semifinals against defending champion USC — which beat Stanford 14-12 in the 2018 national championship at the Avery Aquatic Center — Hallock scored the key, final goal in the third, sudden-death overtime to send the Cardinal to their 22nd NCAA final in school history. The next day, his three goals against No. 5 Pacific in the NCAA final helped lift the Stanford men to their 11th NCAA title, marking the fifth straight decade in which the water polo team has won at least one NCAA title.
Hallock has garnered an impressive list of honors and awards over his three years on the Farm, winning the Cutino Award as well as the ACWPC National Player of the Year and MPSF Player of the Year awards after the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He has also been named ACWPC First-Team All-American and All-MPSF for three straight seasons, winning MPSF Newcomer of the Year in 2017 after making an immediate impact as a freshman.
The economics major, who boasts an admirable 3.544 grade point average, has been recognized for his academic prowess, earning ACWPC All-Academic and MPSF All-Academic Scholar-Athlete recognitions for three straight seasons as well.
Leading the Cardinal over his three seasons on the Farm with 56, 65 and 73 goals each year, respectively, his 194 career goals rank number eight in Stanford history. Although repeatedly facing double- and triple-teams, Hallock scored multiple goals in 18 of 22 matches, leading the team to a stellar 21-2 record overall.
He also represented the United States at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he played in all five matches at the Olympics. As one of the youngest members of the USA Senior National Team, he is one of four Cardinal water polo athletes who took leaves of absence after their NCAA title in December 2019 to focus on training for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The postponement of the Olympics until July 2021, combined with California’s shelter-in-place order, has complicated their training and academic outlook, but Hallock and his teammates are staying hopeful and continuing to make the best out of the difficult situation in which they have been placed due to COVID-19.
Contact Sofia Scekic at sscekic ‘at’ stanford.edu.