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2017 All-Area Boys XC Coach of the Year: Alan McMurtrey, Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls boys cross-country coaches and athletes pose with their state championship banner and trophy on Oct. 28 at Eagle Island State Park. Marlowe Hereford / mhereford@postregister.com

While an influx of talented freshmen and the graduation of only one runner from last year’s top seven indicated promise for the Idaho Falls boys, a competitive effort in the annual To Bone and Back 40-mile relay furthermore provided foreshadowing of the 2017 season.

Idaho Falls took second to Sugar-Salem in the 8-person high school boys division of the event that was neck and neck between relay exchanges, catching the attention of Sugar-Salem coach Brett Hill.

“We said, ‘You guys have got a good shot of doing well this year in cross-country,’” Hill said. “It kinda came to fruition.”

It did indeed. The Tigers placed in the top four of seven meets, won their first district title since 2005 and first state title since 2002 which head coach Alan McMurtrey summed up in two words: sheer joy.

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