To a high degree, Bryce Riehl was the face of Mesa Ridge boys basketball once the team got to the Great 8 at the Denver Coliseum. But to anyone who watched the Grizzlies during the regular season, it was clear that a run to a back-to-back championship was nothing less than a team effort.

Tanner Widic was every bit as responsible for that Class 5A state championship win as anyone else dawning a purple jersey through the course of the year. If trying to establish a “big three” for the Grizzlies during the 2023-24 season, Widic was right in the mix.

His season started off with a bang as he scored a team-high 26 points in a win over Sand Creek. He did so by shooting 67% from the floor, making him the most efficient player on the court that night.

But he was far from a one-hit wonder.

He scored in double figures in seven of the Grizzlies first eight games of the year, then had a three-game stretch where he went for 20, 14 and 19 in big wins for the Grizzlies. The biggest of those wins was the first showdown with Palmer, a team that Mesa Ridge coach Joel Babbitt identified as “the best team in 5A” early in the season. In that win, Widic had 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. The Grizzlies won on a late shot from Tevin Riehl.

That effort was the springboard for the Grizzlies state title run. It extended their winning streak to seven games and for those keeping score at home, all they did was win win win for the remainder of the season.

When the Grizzlies advanced to the 5A Final 4 last month, they had the tall task of taking on a Northfield team that had earned the No. 1 seed heading into the state tournament. Tevin Riehl and Widic found themselves in early foul trouble and were confined to the bench for the entire second quarter.

But the leadership and toughness that both players demonstrated through the course of the season had rubbed off on their teammates and the Grizzlies were able to maintain a lead going into the second half.

“We knew if they could step up and do their job in that second quarter and keep us in the game, we could come out and do it in the second half,” Widic said at the Coliseum.

On top of basketball accolades, Widic is a multi-sport athlete, and even more impressive is that he’s a multi-sport fall athlete. He was a captain for both the boys soccer team and the football team at Mesa Ridge.

He scored 12 goals this season on the pitch and backed it up with 301 receiving yards and a touchdown reception as a receiver for Mesa Ridge. He also rushed for a score in a loss to eventual state runner-up Palmer Ridge.

His efforts across three sports have more than earned him Athlete of the Week honors from Fox 21, Colorado Preps and Whataburger. He’s earned himself a Bacon Steakhouse Double. And the right to savor every bite.

The Whataburger Athlete of the Week works in conjunction with our friends at FOX21. Check out their video package of the Athlete of Week each Wednesday.