PALATINE, Ill. – Harper men's track and field student-athlete Juan Barajas (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Schaumburg) capped off his Harper College athletic career in the spring of 2015 in impressive fashion. Barajas was a national champion in the 5k and placed second in the 10k at nationals to complete his long list of accolades. Barajas can add one final accomplishment to his career, as he has been selected the 2015-16 Harper College Male Athlete of the Year.
|Barajas is the 2015-16 Harper College Male Athlete of the Year (Photo Courtesy of Digital Sports Photography, Herkimer, NY)|
"His success is a result of countless hours of training and commitment to both his running and his academics," said Harper head track and field coach Renee Zellner. "Juan is both humble and kind and has been a positive role model for the sport. He clearly deserves this very special honor."
At the 2015 NJCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championship, Barajas won the 5k by nearly 15 seconds over his nearest challenger, and his second place finish in the 10k was also worthy of All-American distinction. At the end of the season, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) recognized him as the Central Region Men's Track Athlete of the Year.
Over the summer, Barajas committed to continue his running career at Eastern Illinois University and has nearly completed his first full year there.
Barajas also did well in the classroom throughout his time at Harper College as he earned N4C Academic All-Conference honors as a member of both the track and field and cross country teams.
In the fall of 2014, Barajas captured the individual title at the 2014 DIII Men's Cross Country National Championship and helped the Hawks to their fourth straight national title in men's cross country. He also won the Region IV Championship individual title.
During his freshman track and field season, Barajas was an All-American in both the 5k and 10k, placing second in both races. During the fall of 2013, he was an All-American at cross country nationals as the Hawks won their third consecutive national title in men's cross country. He was also the Region IV Runner of the Year and a Harper College Athlete of the Week.