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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Cross Country

Barraza named AAC athlete of the week

After winning the Texas A&M Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 23, senior Brian Barraza was named the American Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week for the second time in his career. | File photo/The Cougar

For the second time in his career, senior cross-country runner Brian Barraza was named the American Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week.

Barraza earned the honor by winning the men’s 8000-meter race at the Texas A&M Invitational on Sept. 23. He finished the race in 23 minutes, 51.4 seconds. Barraza’s time was seven seconds faster than the second-best runner.

In addition to being Barraza’s first race since 2015, this was Barraza’s second time winning the A&M Invitational. He accomplished the feat in 23:28.4 that year.

In 2015, Barraza placed third at the AAC championship meet, earning his third all-conference honor in as many seasons running. But after losing many top runners to graduation in 2015, Barraza chose to redshirt 2016.

The decision was made so Barraza could come back in 2017 when the team could possibly have a more improved squad. That is definitely the case right now.

Alongside junior runner G.J. Reyna, the men’s cross-country team placed fifth as a team at A&M, improving on their ninth place performance in 2016 and seventh place performance in 2015.

Right now, Barraza and the cross-country team are preparing to compete at the Cross Country Pre-Nationals on Oct. 14 in Louisville, Kentucky. With Barraza’s return, the men believe they have a legitimate shot at a conference title.

Combined with Reyna and redshirt junior Blake Contreras, also returning from a redshirt year, Barraza is the driving force behind a men’s team that believes they¬†can accomplish anything if they put their mind to it.

The meet in Louisville will be the team’s last chance to see how they look running as a unit. The very next week, they will travel to Philadelphia for the conference championships.

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