June 30, 2008
USA Water Polo Release
STANFORD, Calif. - Four former Stanford men's water polo standouts will represent the United States at the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer, as USA Water Polo announced the U.S. Olympic Men's Water Polo Team Monday. Three-time National Player of the Year and four-time All-American Tony Azevedo `05 will captain the U.S. squad, while Layne Beaubien `99 makes his second Olympic appearance, Peter Hudnut `03 makes his debut as a full-time player after serving as an alternate in 2004, and Peter Varellas `06 also makes his Olympic debut in Beijing.
Stanford was one of two schools to have the most alumni named to the U.S. Olympic Team, with four. UC Irvine was the other school to be represented by four players.
Azevedo, widely recognized as one of the best water polo players in U.S. history as well as in the world, captains a U.S. squad in Beijing that will look to capitalize off of the momentum of its gold medal-winning performance at the 2007 Pan-Am Games. With Monday's selection, Azevedo becomes the fourth Stanford men's water polo player to be selected to three Olympic Games as a player, matching Jody Campbell (1980, '84, '88) and Wolf Wigo (1996, 2000, '04), while Wally O'Conner (1924, '28, '32, '36) remains the Cardinal's only four-time Olympian.
Azevedo has been one of the top U.S. performers in each of the past two Olympics, finishing fourth among all scorers with 13 goals in 2000, and scoring 15 goals to rank second at the 2004 Games in Athens. The Long Beach native also led the U.S. with 15 goals at the 2007 Pan-Am Games, and was the leading scorer at the 2007 World Championships with 19 goals despite the U.S. not advancing to the medal round.
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, also became the first-ever 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 second Olympic appearance in Beijing, has cemented his reputation 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 two-time Pan-Am Games gold medalist and served as captain of the American squad at the 1999 World University Games.
The defender has shown an impressive knack for finding the back of the net, scoring seven goals at the FINA World League Super Final, and netting six at the 2007 FINA World Championships. At Stanford, Beaubien twice garnered All-American honors (1997-98) and in 1998 was named the MPSF's Co-MVP.
After serving as an alternate on the 2004 Olympic Team, Hudnut earns his first Olympic opportunity as a full-time player for the Beijing Games. A towering defender at 6-5, 230 lbs., Hudnut's size and strength serves the U.S squad ably at the defender position, where he was key in helping the U.S. earn the automatic qualification into the Olympics by winning the gold medal at the 2007 Pan-Am Games.
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.
The youngest of the Stanford contingent on the 2008 Olympic Team, Varellas nevertheless boasts a formidable international and collegiate resumé as well. A two-time All-American (2005-06) as well as two-time All-MPSF First Team selection, Varellas was already making is mark on the international scene while still an undergraduate on the Farm.
As a member of the Junior National Team from 2001-02, Varellas helped the American side to a silver medal at the 2002 Junior Pan-Am Games. Upon his ascension to the Senior National Team, Varellas became the U.S. team's top scorer during 2006, and the following year provided key goals in the U.S.' efforts at the 2007 FINA World Championships as well as in the gold medal-winning performance at the 2007 Pan-Am Games.
The U.S. men's team will begin its Olympic competition August 10, taking on the host nation, China.