Vidakovich column: Rose Bowl or bust

Mike Vidakovich

Nice job Mason!”

That was the text I sent to 2016 Glenwood High School graduate Mason Yellico. It was Friday night, Dec. 2 around 10 p.m. and I had just finished watching the Utah Utes put the finishing touches on a surprising upset of the very talented University of Southern California Trojans in the PAC 12 championship football game.

No doubt caught up in the postgame celebration at Reliant Stadium in Las Vegas where the game was played, it took Yellico a while to respond, but when he did, the excitement in his words was palpable, “Got a ticket for you to the Rose Bowl if you can find your way to Pasadena!”

Yellico, who played football just through his middle school years here in Glenwood, but was a 3 year varsity letter winner for the Demon boys’ basketball team, is currently a member of the football coaching staff at the University of Utah. In his second season with the Utes as the assistant director of player personnel, Yellico’s job is to scour the country for potential high school recruits. He also helps to monitor the all-important transfer portal.

I have known Mason Yellico since he was a little boy, and I always came away with the impression that every waking minute with him was about basketball, but once he got to college at Oklahoma State University as a sports management major and a student manager for the OSU football team, Yellico has determinedly worked his way up the collegiate coaching ladder. Yellico also served as a scouting intern at Wake Forest University and worked the summer football camps there before landing the job in Salt Lake City with the Utes.

Utah will face Penn State on Jan. 2, 2023 in the Rose Bowl game. I probably won’t be able to take Yellico up on that offer to have a ticket waiting for me, but I will be watching the game on television and wishing this young Glenwood native the best of luck.

Amazing Graci

Another recent Glenwood High School graduate is making a name for herself in the college and national basketball circuits. Class of 2020 graduate Graci Dietrich, who played for the Lady Demons and is continuing her hardwood career at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, has been chosen to be a member of the United States Deaf Women’s Basketball Team.

The team which will play in the world championships this coming summer in Greece. Dietrich, a two-year all-conference player in Glenwood, was invited to tryouts for the national team in Washington D.C.  Following her trip to Greece this summer, Dietrich will go to the 2025 deaf Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan as a member of the same U.S. National Team.

Keep up the good work, Graci. Your hometown is very proud of you!

Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer, teacher and youth sports coach. His column appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at

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