All-Area Wrestling Coach of the Year: Chris Harris, Ririe

Snake River’s Treyton Nilsson is the Post Register’s 2015 All-Area Wrestler of the Year. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

By VICTOR FLORES vflores@postregister.com

Chris Harris doesn’t like being told good luck.

The Ririe High School wrestling coach tells his wrestlers that they deserve the results they get based on the work they put in. No luck required.

Luck, however, seemed to envelop Ririe’s first ever state wrestling title Feb. 28. The Bulldogs won by half a point, after New Plymouth’s Chase Bowen defeated St. Maries’ Nathan Masterson.

But luck didn’t fuel Ririe’s title run, it merely aided it. As Harris will tell you, the championship was a result of a years-long process, from coaches spending extra attention on the little kids program to wrestlers spending more time on the practice mat, in the weight room, etc.

All of that work culminated in this year’s 2A state title. Harris, in his 17th year as head coach, helped set the foundation for this now-imposing team. That’s why he’s the Post Register’s 2015 All-Area Coach of the Year.

“Those kids believed in what we were trying to do, and that’s really what it all came down to,” Harris said. “This group of young men just decided they were going to do more than just the average kid does.”

A state title often felt elusive to Harris, a Ririe graduate, during his coaching career. Getting past District 6 opponents West Jefferson, North Fremont, Challis and Firth was enough of a task.

But the Bulldogs captured this year’s district title, their second since 2013, and carried that success into state. The Bowen-Masterson match hardly mattered. Ririe had accomplished all it could ask for — a position to win at the end.

Harris’ level of happiness hasn’t changed a month after the state championship. Nor have his views on the true joy of coaching.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to win a state title all the time,” he said. “But it’s really the relationship with these young men that’s been the fun part about it.”

No luck required.