Vidakovich column: Thoughts on the state basketball tourney; and an End of Winter 4K |

Vidakovich column: Thoughts on the state basketball tourney; and an End of Winter 4K

Mike Vidakovich
Mike Vidakovich

The state high school basketball tournament now has 32 teams in some of the smaller classifications and 48 teams for the bigger schools. I would never write anything that would be perceived as taking away accomplishments from local players or coaches, because I was one of those players and coaches for most of my life.

I have said for years, though, that I think the current format of allowing so many teams, many with losing regular season records, into the “state tournament” is watering things down way too much. When I played and for most of my years of coaching, the final eight teams in each class that were heading to Denver had qualified for the state tourney.

It was pretty simple around these parts: If you won the district tournament, you were headed to state. Otherwise, it was uniform check-in time.

When I coached the girls at Glenwood High School in the 1990s, we made the final 16 teams in 4A — known as regionals back then — four times. We lost on the road to Lewis Palmer and Lamar, and beat Durango and Rampart at home. I never have and never will look at those two losses as making the “Sweet 16.” What?

To me, we got beat and didn’t make it to state. Period.

If you check the scores of many of the first round games in the 32- and 48-team field for both boys and girls, you will see that the majority of them have lopsided scores that border on embarrassing.

So, here’s my closing salutation to the Grand Valley and Delta girls, and the Aspen boys: You qualified for state. For the rest, it’s good luck with spring sports.

West Glenwood foot race returns

A couple of years ago, I told friends in the running community that I was retiring from hosting races at my house. For over 20 years, the Sequoia Glen 5K and the Banzai Trail 5K both started and finished in front of my home in West Glenwood. It was a labor of love, with the main motivation behind having the events was to raise a little money for local animal shelters.

I have always loved animals and nature, especially animals. Getting running friends together twice a year in the spring and fall was a good way to catch up with familiar faces, get some exercise on a challenging but scenic course, and send some money off to the people who operate the shelters and help the furry friends in such an important way every day.

After a brief hiatus from organizing races, I put on a low key event last fall to help out the shelters again. About 25 hearty souls showed up to give their support. It felt good to send some cash off to places like the Colorado Animal Rescue, Valley Dog Rescue, Lucky Day Animal Shelter, Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation and the Rifle Animal Shelter, which is now the Journey Home Animal Care Center in a brand new facility.

I’m hoping for a bigger crowd this April 3 for the End of Winter 4k (2.5 miles), which will take place from my house on Donegan Road to an uphill turnaround point just above the Glenwood Fish Hatchery on Mitchell Creek Road, and back down again. The race is on a Sunday morning at 10 a.m. with an entry fee of just $10, all of which will be distributed to local animal shelters.

The race is very walker friendly, with every step of the way taking place on paved roads. The scenery is wonderful, and for the less competitive participants you have the option of stopping at the Mitchell Creek waterfalls just below the bridge at the turnaround point and sitting by the creek for a spell.

You can call or text 970-618-7980 for further race information as April approaches, but start getting in shape now by practicing some hills and stopping along the way to enjoy some peace and quiet.

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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