Jan. 4, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO - California senior attacker Ivan Rackov, who was both the ACWPC National Player of the Year and the winner of the Peter J. Cutino Award in 2010, has again been selected as a finalist for the Cutino Award. Rackov joins USC's senior goalie Joel Dennerley and UCLA's junior attacker Josh Samuels as the finalists for the 2011 Cutino Award that honors the nation's top collegiate men's and women's water polo players. The award will be presented in early June at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Rackov, from Belgrade, Serbia, finished the 2011 campaign with 70 goals in 25 matches, leading the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with 2.80 goals per game. He also paced the Golden Bears with 64 assists and 58 steals. Rackov finished his four years at Cal with 235 goals, second on the school's all-time scoring list, and tallied 229 career assists and 207 career steals.
The namesake of the Cutino Award, Peter Cutino, was the Bears' legendary and beloved water polo coach from 1963-88 and is one of the greatest figures in United States water polo history. The long-time Cal and Olympic Club coach led 21 teams to national titles, including guiding the Bears to eight NCAA championships. Cutino had been the United States' coach in the Olympic Games, Pan-American Games, World Championships, World University Games, Maccabiah Games and many other international tournaments. He was also honored 17-times with the Water Polo Coach of the Year award and was elected to the United States Water Polo Hall of Fame.
Included in Cutino's championship teams were three Olympic Club teams. The Olympic Club squads of 1991 to 1993 were national champions under Cutino's tutelage and helped solidify The Olympic Club's distinguished water polo tradition. Founded in 1860, The Olympic Club of San Francisco is the oldest athletic club in the United States. The Peter J. Cutino Award is presented to the nation's top male and female collegiate water polo players, as voted on by a distinguished panel of collegiate coaches. Each winner will receive a trophy recognizing their individual achievements and a perpetual trophy will remain on display at the Olympic Club.
The Cal men's water polo team finished the 2011 season 22-4 over all and 7-1 in the MPSF had four players named to the 2011 MPSF All-Conference team, including first-team selection Rackov. Rackov was also twice named MPSF Player of the Week during the 2011 campaign.
The Bears' four losses this season were all by one goal, including 7-6 in overtime to UCLA in the Nov. 26 MPSF Tournament semifinal in Los Angeles. Cal also fell 6-5 to UCLA Sept. 18 in the semifinals of the NorCal Tournament in Stockton, 10-9 in overtime to Stanford Oct. 2, and 9-8 in sudden death overtime to USC Oct. 15 at Cal.