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Community Champions: Pebble Hills runner Mark Barajas wins national title at USATF Junior Olympic Championships

EL PASO, Texas - If at first you don't succeed, try, and try again.

That was Mark Barajas' philosophy on his journey to becoming a national champion.

Last week at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympic Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Barajas became a 3X All-American.

Barajas had competed at the national competition before, but a first place finish had always alluded him.

That was until 2023.

Barajas competed in four events in his age group, so he had four chances to get that national title.

It wouldn't take long for Barajas to accomplish his goal.

In his first event, Barajas finished in first place in the 2,000m steeplechase.

It was a dominate performance as Barajas finished 11 seconds faster than the runner who placed second.

Barajas wasn't done competing as he still had three other events to go.

He would place in the top ten in two of them.

A 7th place finish in the 3,000m, and a 4th place finish in the 1500m.

Barajas is entering his senior year at Pebble Hills High School.

His goal now is to become a state champion, and to one day represent team USA at the Olympics.

He'll also have a decision to make as to where he'll want to compete in college.

Barajas says he's received interest from some division one programs, but his top school right now is UTEP.

He's hoping his recent accomplishments will attract the attention of the Miners.

For all of his accomplishments, Barajas has been named this week's Community Champion.

Community Champions is sponsored by Albertsons and the El Paso Community Foundation.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.


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