Arroyo, Rulon and Wigo Headline USA Water Polo 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees

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Gavin Arroyo (center), with success at every level in American water polo, has been recognized by the USAWP Hall of Fame. Photo Courtesy: John Fajardo

In tangible proof that silver linings remain despite a sports blackout imposed by health concerns as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, today USA Water Polo announced the 2020 class of honorees for its Hall of Fame: Olympians Gavin Arroyo, Kelly Rulon and Elsie Windes, water polo executive Bruce Wigo and long-time referee Gary Robinett.

usawpAmong one of the most recognizable names in American polo, Bruce Wigo is not only distinguished as the one-time leader of the national governing body overseeing the sport, but for his sons Drac, Janson and Wolf—all of whom played polo at Stanford.

The senior Wigo will join his son Wolf—a 2011 inductee due to two NCAA championships on The Farm (1993, 94) as well as participation in three Olympic Games (1996, 2000, 04)—as a USAWP Hall of Fame honoree. From 1991 to 2003 Bruce Wigo was the executive director of U.S. Water Polo, overseeing the American men’s and women’s national polo teams. More recently he served as the executive director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF), which is involved with the publication of Swimming World.

Also selected for the class of 2020 is Gavin Arroyo, who has enjoyed a distinguished career as a collegiate player and coach as well as one of the top assistant for the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team, A star at Cal under Steve Heaston, Arroyo was a member of three straight NCAA champions (1990, 91, 92) and as a player represented the U.S. in two Olympics (1996, 2000). Since hanging up his Speedo as a player, Arroyo has enjoyed great success a coach, including fourteen years leading the men’s and women’s program at Long Beach State. After a number of positions coaching for USA Water polo, including leading the men’s development and junior national teams, since 2018 Arroyo has been a member of U.S. Head Coach Dejan Udovicic’s staff.

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Bruce Wigo, Brent Rutemiller of ISHOF; Photo Courtesy: JM Streiner

Kelly Rulon is also an Olympian, having played for the U.S. Senior Women’s team from 2003 to 2012, capping her national team experience with gold at the 2012 London Games, when the Americans beat Spain 8-5 in the Olympic final.

This win represented redemption for Rulon and her teammates, who had captured bronze in 2004 in Athens and were upset in the 2008 final in Beijing. A very successful collegiate player, she captured four NCAA titles (2003, 05, 06, 07) as a member of the UCLA Bruins squads coached by Adam Krikorian, In 2007 she was selected for the Cutino Award as the country’s best female collegiate player.

After enjoying a standout career at Cal (2004-07) where she was a three-time All-American, Elsie Windes was Rulon’s teammate on the 2008 and 2012 Olympic squads. Windes did not take a typical path to success in what is a California-dominated sport. An age group player hailing from Beaverton High School in Portland, Oregon, she went on to register 147 goals during a Golden Bear career that saw her elected to the Cal Hall of Fame in 2018.

The final inductee represents a key polo contributor from the sidelines. For a quarter century following a career as a high school and college athlete, Gary Robinett refereed high-level international, collegiate, high school, and age-group competitions. He whistled more than 85 international matches, including FINA World Cup and Olympic Qualification Tournaments, and was a fixture at the national championship; 23 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championships, including 10 finals.

Details on the 2020 USA Water Polo Hall of Fame luncheon, which in years past has been held the first weekend in June, are not yet to available. For more information, or to find out about past honorees, please click here.

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1 comment

  1. Damon Pal

    Congratulations to all the inductees and a special congratulations to our CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEAR teammate Gavin Arroyo!

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