Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 29, 2012

Azevedo takes history into fourth Games

by Rick Eymer

Stanford grad Tony Azevedo has made some history by being named to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men's Water Polo team. He and teammate Ryan Bailey are the first male water polo players in U.S. history to compete in four Olympiads.

USA head coach Terry Schroeder made that happen this week as he named the 13 athletes who will compete at the 2012 Olympic Games this summer in London, England.

The U.S. squad features 10 returners from the 2008 team that won the silver medal in Beijing. The team clinched a trip to the 2012 Olympic Games by winning gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In addition to Azevedo (Class of 2005), Stanford will be represented on the U.S. Olympic Team by Layne Beaubien (`99), Peter Hudnut `03 and Peter Varellas `06.

The four former Cardinal players make Stanford the most represented school on the American side. After landing five alumnae to the women's team earlier this month, Stanford, with nine U.S. Olympians, is the most represented collegiate program overall.

The U.S. men will be in Group B in the 12-team Olympic tournament, opening play July 29 against Montenegro. Also in the group are Hungary, Romania, Serbia and host Great Britain.

The Stanford quartet recently helped the U.S. to a fourth-place finish at the FINA World League Super Final as well as to the gold medal at the 2011 Pan-Am Games that qualified the Americans for this summer's Olympics.

Azevedo, the long-time U.S. captain, has been one of the top U.S. performers in each of the past three Olympics. Four years ago, he was named to the Olympic All-Star Team in Beijing after leading the team with 17 goals as the U.S. claimed the silver medal. Azevedo ranked second among all scorers in Athens in 2004 with 15 goals and was fourth among all scorers with 13 goals at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Stanford's all-time leading scorer with 332 goals in his career, Azevedo, among the nearly endless list of honors he has received in his storied career, is also the only four-time winner of the Peter J. Cutino Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate men's water polo player.

Beaubien, a defender out of Coronado who will be making his third Olympic appearance in London, continues to perform as one of the top center defenders in the world. Along with being the first American to ever play in the Hungarian professional league (KSI in Budapest), Beaubien is a three-time Pan-Am Games gold medalist. Four years ago in Beijing, Beaubien netted eight goals during the USA's silver-medal run.

At Stanford, Beaubien twice garnered All-American honors (1997-98) and in 1998 was named the MPSF's Co-MVP.

Hudnut will play in his second Olympic Games this summer. Hudnut, who stands a towering 6-foot-5, will use his size and strength to serve the U.S squad ably at the defender position. In Beijing, Hudnut saw action in all seven U.S. matches, scoring a goal in the 12-11 upset of Italy and helping anchor the defense during its run to the gold medal match.

Hudnut was also an alternate on the 2004 Olympic Team.

While at Stanford, Hudnut was named an All-American three straight years (2000-02), earning first-team honors in 2001 and '02. As Stanford's second-leading scorer, he was a pivotal piece of the Cardinal's 2001 and 2002 national championship squads.

Also making his second Olympic appearance is Varellas, who also serves as volunteer assistant coach for the Cardinal men's program. Varellas scored five times in his Olympic debut in Beijing, including goals in upsets of Croatia and Serbia. Most recently, Varellas scored a hat trick in a 7-6 loss to Italy at the FINA World League Super Final as the U.S. took fourth.

A two-time All-American (2005-06) as well as two-time All-MPSF First Team selection, Varellas was already making his mark on the international scene while still an undergraduate on the Farm, playing for the Junior National Team from 2001-02.

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