Kami Craig and J.W. Krumpholz Win Cutino Award|
June 7, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. -- For just the second time in USC history, two Trojans have emerged with collegiate water polo's most prestigious honor. Both Olympic silver-medalists, USC's Kami Craig and J.W. Krumpholz have been named the Peter J. Cutino Award recipients for 2008-09, honored on June 6 at a ceremony at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. USC now leads all other programs in overall Cutino Award winners (seven), and also takes the lead with five female winners.
The last time that USC swept the Cutino awards, it was Juraj Zatovic and Lauren Wenger who made history for the Trojans. Zatovic became the first USC male to win the award with his receipt of the 2005-06 Cutino Award, and Wenger was the fourth female USC player to win as she picked up the award on the women's side in 2006. Now, Craig and Krumpholz's induction to the elite group makes it a count of seven Trojans to have been named Cutino Award winners.
Just over a month ago, redshirt junior Kami Craig picked up the MPSF Player of the Year award to become the first USC player since 2004 to win the award from the conference. USC's top force in the water this season was Craig, who dominated the two-meter position for the Trojans and was also named the MPSF Tournament MVP. In addition to 40 goals scored, Craig's strength opened up a wildly balanced offense for USC to help solidify her as the 2009 Cutino Award recipient. A two-time All-American already, Craig took the 2008 season off from action at USC in order to train with and compete for the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where she won a silver medal with Team USA. Now back in full force with the Trojans, Craig scored in 20 games this year and was second on the team in scoring, having punched in a new career high this season in a five-goal outing that helped earn her first career honor as an MPSF Player of the Week. She has since collected two such honors for her performances in big MPSF wins for USC.
This year, Craig and the Women of Troy extended their win streak out to 16 straight victories in capturing the program's second MPSF Championship and working into the NCAA championship game. Craig became the first Trojan to be named MPSF Player of the Year since fellow 2008 Olympian and two-meter standout Moriah Van Norman did so in 2004. Van Norman also was a 2004 Cutino Award winner, joining an elite group of now five Women of Troy to win collegiate water polo's highest honor. Lauren Wenger was the last USC female to win the award before Craig's induction as the 2009 Cutino Award recipient.
With his selection as a Cutino Award recipient, junior J.W. Krumpholz joins 2005 NCAA champion Juraj Zatovic as the only male Trojans to win a Cutino Award, as the two-meter man is coming off a 2008 season in which he returned from a silver-medal performance at the 2008 Olympic Games with Team USA to help lead the USC men to the 2008 NCAA Championship. Krumpholz has already snagged honors as the 2008 National Player of the Year as well as the MPSF Co-Player of the Year. He was USC's top scorer in 2008 with 43 goals, and by season's end, he had captured NCAA and MPSF Tournament MVP honors and also was named MPSF Player of the Week twice. Now with 101 career goals, Krumpholz is just the third Trojan to earn both National and MPSF Player of the Year honors. With ACWPC All-America First Team honors in 2008, Krumpholz is a three-time All-American, having earned Honorable Mention as a freshman in 2006 and Third Team honors in 2007.
The other male finalists for the award were Stanford's Jimmie Sandman and UCLA's Krsto Sbutega. On the women's side, Craig was joined as a Cutino Award finalist by senior USC teammate Michelle Stein and UCLA's Tanya Gandy.
The award is given annually to the outstanding female and male collegiate water polo players in the United States as voted by the coaches of the Division I schools in honor of the late Peter J. Cutino, the former University of California Berkeley and The Olympic Club coach, who passed away in September 2004. A U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame member, Cutino was the Water Polo Coach of the Year 17 times and led Cal to eight NCAA National Championships. In his career Cutino also coached in the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the Water Polo World Championships and the World University Games.
Recipients of the Peter J. Cutino Award are: