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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Cross Country

Barraza elaborates on his success as a freshman

Freshman runner Brian Barraza earned his third consecutive top-three finish at the Texas A&M CC Islander Splash on Friday in Corpus Christi after coming in first place at the Baylor Twilight Invitational and third at the 38th annual Justin F. Cooper Memorial Rice Invitational.

Although he has been competing at UH for only a little over a month, Barraza was the first student athlete in 2013 to receive the title of American Athletic Conference Cross Country Athlete of the week.

Barraza and junior Yonas Tesfai swept the top two spots at the Texas A&M CC Islander Splash. Barraza followed Tesfai with a time of 26:31.5 and the No. 2 spot.

The Daily Cougar: Since the last meet, what are some things you’re still working on?

Brian Barraza: I’m really working on race strategy. I’ve had to run these past couple of races different than I used to in high school. In high school, I was a front runner. I would run the race myself, but I have to get used to other people that run the way I used to. I’m not used to running in the pack.

TDC: In what other ways do high school and college running differ?

BB: In high school, there is a lot less competition. In my area, there really weren’t many people that could keep up with me.

TDC: What makes you successful?

BB: I don’t want to say I’m successful yet. I have bigger and better plans. I’ve got some pretty ambitious goals. I’d like to make it to nationals, but I would like to do well at regionals — that would be enough for me.

TDC: What do you need to get better?

BB: I need to continue training. We do a combination of training long runs and specific workouts. I want to improve.

TDC: Who is your biggest critic?

BB: I would say myself. Every race, I go over what that I did and what I should have done. Like, I should have made a little push there, or I should have kept better count of where I was. It’s all me in my head (thinking), ‘Change that for next time.’

TDC: What led you to cross country?

BB: Actually, I started track when I was seven. My mom had a friend whose son was on the summer track team, and I was a really hyper kid, so my mom thought it would be a great idea. I ended up loving it. When I got to high school, my mom had to convince me to do cross country because I thought it was road races, and I thought I was going to get lost. But I ended up loving (that, too) — thanks, Mom.

TDC: Where do you see yourself by your senior year?

BB: I don’t know. That depends on how hard I work and how I progress. You can’t really tell with things like this, because I could plateau or I could get exponentially better. Hopefully I’ll get better. We’ll see.

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