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Athletes of the Year: Bay Area

5/18/2009

Editor's note: ESPN RISE Magazine honors the top individual athletes in each of the magazine's 25 regions. Disagree with our choices? Vote for your favorite athletes here. And check out the honorees from other regions here.

Boys' Athlete of the Year

USUA AMANAM
Bellarmine Prep / Football
Amanam was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bells this season, leading Bellarmine
Prep to the CCS title. The Stanford-bound running back was unstoppable
on offense, rushing for 1,822 yards and 30 touchdowns and catching two touchdown
passes. On defense, he had four interceptions (one returned for a TD), and
he recorded three special teams TDs as well, giving him a total of 36 touchdowns
on the year. Amanam was at his best in the playoffs, carrying 85 times for 721
yards and 10 touchdowns in three games to lead the Bells to the championship.

OTHER FINALISTS

MARTIN GONZALES
Gilroy / Wrestling
Gonzales is considered one of the nation's top 10 wrestlers in his weight class,
and he enjoyed a spectacular 2008-09 season. The senior went 38-2 and won
the state championship at 125 pounds.
ANTHONY SALCICCIA
Prospect / Soccer
Prospect won its first CCS title since 1992, and Salciccia was the driving force.
The senior midfielder scored five goals in four playoff games and finished the
season with 31 goals and 15 assists.
BRANDON SMITH
De La Salle / Basketball
Smith was the Spartans' heart and soul this season, providing the team
with leadership and clutch playmaking ability. The 5-foot-8 point guard
has committed to Cal.

Girls' Athlete of the Year

DeNESHA STALLWORTH
Pinole Valley / Basketball
Stallworth had stiff competition for top honors, as it was a banner year for
girls' hoops in the Bay Area, but the 6-foot-3 center earned it. She averaged
27.7 points and 11 rebounds per game, and she shot a remarkable 69 percent
from the floor. The McDonald's All-American selection topped 30 points in 11
games this season, with a season high of 47 points. Stallworth's all-around
dominance was on display against Berkeley on Feb. 6, when she scored 36
points and grabbed 20 rebounds. The senior has signed with Cal.

OTHER FINALISTS

KATIE LE
Milpitas / Tennis
Le went undefeated (33-0) and beat two-time defending champ Tayler
Davis of Archbishop Mitty in the CCS final, and she did it all with ease. Le,
a junior, dropped just one set all season.

JACQUE TAYLOR
Casa Grande / Cross Country
Taylor had a spectacular junior year, lowering her times throughout the season
and peaking at the right time. She won the NCS individual title, then finished
sixth overall at the state meet.

RACHEL WILLIAMS
Archbishop Mitty / Volleyball
The junior outside hitter was devastating this season, amassing 473 kills and
leading Mitty to a 42-1 record and the Division II state title. Williams was chosen
the Most Valuable Player of the championship