By JOHN C. COTEY
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 24, 2000
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Amanda Paulo may have earned her second consecutive state championship last week in Orlando, but she got her first Sunshine Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year honor as the county's coaches picked their fall all-star teams Monday at Wesley Chapel.
Paulo, who has won the Class 3A 100-yard backstroke championship the past two seasons, surprisingly did not win top swimmer honors in 1999, one of the most glaring oversights in years. This year, however, she was the easy choice as the predictable choices were made in each sport.
The offensive football Player of the Year? Pasco County rushing champion and Land O'Lakes senior running back Godfrey Pestana, of course, for the second consecutive season.
The defensive Player of the Year? Senior linebacker Chris Robinson of River Ridge, arguably the county's best tackler and the second straight Royal Knight defender to win the award (lineman Justin Fenton won in '99).
Repeat selections in football included: Pestana, Robinson, Pasco's Kenny Roberts and Joe Bain, Land O'Lakes' Sam Weatherford, River Ridge's Andrew Allwood and Mike Tubolino, Zephyrhills' Brad Howard, Michael Moody, Charlie Helm and Wesley Chapel's Spencer Honeycutt.
In cross country, seniors James Vitale (Ridgewood) and Barbara Carr (Gulf) were the top runners after easily winning the conference meet. Vitale also was Runner of the Year as a sophomore in 1998; Carr won the award for the third time, taking the top honor last year and in 1997.
Joining Paulo as the SAC's boys Swimmer of the Year is River Ridge junior Kevin Rumble, who won the award for the third consecutive season. Rumble also won his second straight championship at state last week, capturing the 200 Individual Medley.
First-year school Mitchell claimed its first Athlete of the Year when girls golfer Amanda Moore of the SAC champion Mustangs was named tops in her sport. The boys winner was Chris Black of Zephyrhills.
Hudson had volleyball's Player of the Year for the second consecutive season as Alison Baker, who was All-SAC last year, won. The 6-foot-1 Baker led the county in kills and blocks and helped guide Hudson to its second final four appearance in four seasons.