HOUSTON – Senior distance runner Brian Barraza wrapped arguably one of the top cross country careers in program history with a 61st-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championship on Saturday, in Louisville, Ky.
Barraza opened the race among the lead pack, when he crossed the 2,000-meter split in 5:44.5 to sit just a few seconds behind the leaders in 32nd. Barraza made a move to climb four spots through the 4,000-meter split, moving through the marker at 11:47.5 and sitting 28th.
Barraza crossed the final split marker in 57th, finishing 8,000-meters in 24:08.7 before entering the chute and crossing the finish line in 30:19.36 to place 61st.
With his finish at the 2017 Cross Country National Championships, Barraza became the first Cougar in program history to compete as an individual in the event three times. As a sophomore in 2014, Barraza finished 224th in his first appearance at the championship meet in Terre Haute, Ind., before moving up to finish 60th the following year in Louisville.
The 2017 Championships capped an incredible career for Barraza at Houston. In 2015, Barraza became the first Cougar to win an individual regional title when he claimed gold at the NCAA South Central Regional in College Station, Texas. Including the regional, Barraza has claimed five individual titles throughout his cross country career and has finished among the top-10 in 16 separate events.
Barraza is a 3-time All-American Athletic Conference honoree and has earned American Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors four times throughout his career. Barraza has excelled in the classroom as well, and was named CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2017, an honor that only one other Cross Country/Track & Field athlete had earned at Houston (Jolanda Jones 1987 and 1989), while also earning All-District and All-Regional academic honors.
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