Stanford's Alex Bowen and Bret Bonanni were named two of three finalists for the prestigious Peter J. Cutino Award, it was announced Tuesday.
Considered the Heisman Trophy of water polo, the Cutino Award is given annually in honor of the late Peter J. Cutino, the former Cal and The Olympic Club coach, who passed away in September 2004. He is in the U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame, won "Water Polo Coach of the Year" 17 times and led the Golden Bears to eight NCAA 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.
A group of female finalists will be named at the close of the women's collegiate season, with one male winner and one female winner named at a ceremony in June 2015 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Already a three-time ACWPC First Team All-American, the senior Bowen finished his time on The Farm with 253 career goals and will leave third all-time at Stanford and eighth in MPSF history. This season, he was second on the Cardinal with 65 scores, including 19 multi-goal games and 12 hat tricks. With All-America awards for 2014 yet to be announced, the Santee, Calif. product is also looking to become Stanford's first four-time ACWPC First Team All-American since Tony Azevedo (2001-04).
Bonanni emphatically finished his junior campaign with an eight-goal outing in the NCAA third-place game against UC San Diego on Dec. 7. The eight scores were just one shy of the single-game record in the history of the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship and his 11 total goals this year in La Jolla were the most in NCAA championship history since Doug Munz scored 11 for Navy in 1994. The 11 goals were also two-game NCAA championship record since the tournament switched to a four-team format in 1995. Ivan Babic (USC; 2000) and Balazs Erdelyi (Pacific; 2013) held the previous two-game record of nine.
Bonanni concluded his junior season with a conference-leading 96 goals, just one shy of the single-season school-record 97 he tallied a year ago. He will enter his senior year on The Farm with 266 career scores, just 66 shy of Tony Azevedo's Stanford and MPSF record (332). Bonanni is the only Cardinal in history to post multiple 90-goal seasons.
Azevedo is the only Cardinal to claim the award on the men's side, winning it four straight times from 2002-05. Five Stanford women have earned the honor six times, including in each of the last four years.
Stanford finished its 2014 campaign 26-4 overall, the program's highest win total since 1994 (27), and also won the Cardinal's first MPSF Championship since 2004.
USC senior Kostas Genidounias is the other male finalist for this year's award.