March is moving along, with temps trending above the 52 degrees that is normal for the month and thousands of cranes hanging out in the fields. The middle of the week looks like the best chance for some moisture. Here are a few other items to get the week started:

1. A Crane Festival for the record books

The 40th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival goes down as one of the largest attended. With a few hundred at Saturday evening’s premier of the documentary “Where the Cranes Meet the Mountains” and thousands traveling in to witness the phenomenal sandhill crane migration, the Crane Festival has found new energy four decades in. Take for example Michelle Fulcher, and her husband, James. They were part of the Denver crowd that found its way south to the San Luis Valley. Dinner at Friar’s Fork, a two-night stay at the Comfort Inn, and early morning birding is indicative of the type of weekend stay and dollars visitors to Crane Festival drop along the way. Here’s more on the weekend that was the 40th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival.

2. Valley teams take on Colorado Knowledge Bowl 

For the students at Alamosa High it’s always been about the Colorado Knowledge Bowl State Tournament. They took a television detour on their way to this year’s state Knowledge Bowl and won the Rocky Mountain Quiz Kids title sponsored by SOCO CW television station out of Colorado Springs. But really, it’s this week’s Colorado Knowledge Bowl that Team Moose has been looking forward to and the hope is that the Quiz Kids title helped them prepare. “I think the quiz show was the perfect opportunity for them to have some additional practice before competing at state,” said Erika Henderson, Alamosa High science teacher and one of the Knowledge Bowl coaches. 

Alamosa High, Centauri, Monte Vista, Sargent, Salida and La Veta all have teams competing Monday and Tuesday at the Colorado Knowledge Bowl competition. Here’s wishing them all the luck.

3. Valley Pod 100

We’re approaching 100 episodes of The Valley Pod. Through conversations with the “most interesting people of the San Luis Valley,” The Valley Pod has heard from a range of guests representing a variety of interests in the San Luis Valley. The latest is Heather Dutton, manager of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, who walks us through a project to add more Snotel sites to improve the accuracy of snowpack measurements along the Upper Rio Grande Basin. Whether it’s recording a corrido to commemorate the Francisco Maestas Case or hearing from guests like Dutton, The Valley Pod has helped its listening audience to learn more and hear directly from the Valley’s most interesting people. We hope you’ll follow along. The podcasts are on-demand. Listen wherever you get your podcasts, whenever it fits your schedule.

4. Alamosa School Board goes behind closed doors

The Alamosa School Board met in executive session for another three hours last week to discuss the most recent performance evaluation of Superintendent Diana Jones. No action was planned by the school board during this special meeting. It said it needed to hear from its attorney, Kristen Edgar, and “receive legal advice concerning the board’s power and authority to develop and enforce performance expectations, in accordance with the provisions of the superintendent’s contract.” Jones is under contract for another school year, through June 2024.

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5. Weekend of gold for the Grizzlies

It was a weekend of gold for Adams State when its teams competed in the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships and NCAA DII Wrestling Championships. All told, Adams State athletes won five gold medals and the women’s indoor track and field team won the national championship.

Adams State edged past Minnesota State, 52 points to 51, to capture the NCAA Division II Women’s Indoor Track and Field title, and it was runner up in the men’s field during competition over the weekend at Virginia Beach. Stephanie Cotter added to her national trophy case with two more national titles, winning the mile run and the 3,000 meter run. Brianna Robles finished second in the 3,000 meters and second in the 5,000 meter run to help the Grizzlies win the team title.

Adams State’s Miguel Coca won the men’s indoor mile, giving the Grizzlies both the men’s and women’s national indoor mile titles for the first time in the same season. Coca also finished second in the 3,000 meter run and Awet Beraki was runner up in the men’s 5,000 meter run. A full rundown of results is here.

In wrestling Adams State captured two two individual titles – Brendon Garcia at 125 pounds and Josiah Rider at 149 pounds. For Rider it was his second national wrestling crown. As a team Adams State finished fifth overall, and senior Noah Hermosillo, who entered the tournament unbeaten and won the national title a year ago, was third in the 157-pound weight class to finish his outstanding career.