Team Captain, Perimeter Menace Share USWP’s Top Honor
Colorado Springs, CO—U.S. men’s water polo national teamers Chris Oeding and Wolf Wigo, who led the U.S. charge into and through the Olympics, were
named as the 2000 United Airlines/U.S. Water Polo male co-Players of the Year. Both will be honored, along with female recipients Brenda Villa and Coralie Simmons, at the USWP Awards Luncheon in January.
For both athletes, this is a second-time honor. Oeding sowed up the award in 1998, while Wigo was the 1999 Player of the Year.
Oeding, the men’s team captain, seemed to get better as the summer went on in 2000, with his offensive production bettering in each tournament. At the
UPS International Cup in late June, Oeding excelled in his typical role as ball distributor, leading the team in assists, and scoring three goals. Later, in August’s Italian Trophy Tournament, Oeding netted six goals, including a pair of last-minute, game-tying scores for the U.S. The Olympic tournament upheld the trend for Oeding, where the 6-1 driver scored eight
goals in the Americans’ sixth-place finish.
“Winning this award, along with Wolf, is a nice honor,” he said. “But I would give it up in a second for a medal.”
Wigo electrified crowds in Sydney with his ability to score, seemingly at will, from the perimeter, and was the tournament’s most effective outside shooter at well over 60%. Shooting at that clip, Wigo amassed 13 goals on the week, good enough for a top-five finish in the score column. Wigo’s 10 goals at this summer’s UPS Cup, one behind the teammate and Most Valuable
Offensive Player, Chris Humbert.
U.S. head coach John Vargas said that the award couldn’t have been presented to two more worthy players.
“The right men are being honored for this award,” said Vargas. “Chris had an outstanding Olympics to cap off an outstanding year, and Wolf was one of the most consistent performers in the world in 2000.”