Barraza makes his return to E.P. Tom Sawyer Park where he finished 10th in the seeded race at the Pre-National event earlier this year. Competing in an 8K in October, Barraza crossed the finish line in 23:22.1 to pace the Cougars.
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.