Grays Harbor College wrestler Barajas to transfer to Big Bend CC
Raul Barajas, a former Quincy High School wrestling standout and state placer who began his college career at Grays Harbor Community College, has decided to return home and transfer to Big Bend Community College.
Barajas will enroll as a full-time BBCC student in the spring and take classes during summer, becoming eligible to wrestle for the Vikings’ program next season, he said.
He wrestled for the Chokers for a year, making it to the junior-college nationals tournament.
Distractions, academic struggles and homesickness contributed to the decision to come back to Grant County, he said.
“Being away from my family impacted me really hard,” he said. “The real world pretty much hit me hard, I guess.”
The constant rain of Grays Harbor County did not play a factor, he said, adding that he likes the rain better than the snow.
“Everywhere you go has pros and cons,” he said.
Being by himself at Grays Harbor College, far away from home, Barajas struggled to self-motivate. His cousin, fellow wrestler Kateri Rowell, also attended GHC last year, but their schedules rarely meshed.
“The girls wrestling team is way bigger than the men’s team, and they are traveling all the time: Texas, Florida, Virginia, Philadelphia. I would see her every now and then.”
Rowell remained at GHC, even opening a GoFundMe account to raise money for a wrestling trip to Taiwan.
While Barajas waits for next year, he says he misses wrestling, a sport he took up in first grade.
“It feels pretty weird” to go without wrestling, he said, but it also feels good to give his body a break.
The task now is to stay healthy and keep weight off until next season, the second since the college decided to restart its wrestling program.
Big Bend is in the same league as Grays Harbor College, and Barajas said he looked forward to facing his now-former teammates.
“I will probably match up against my former teammate Jesse,” said Barajas, referring to Jesse Torres, a GHC wrestler who beat Barajas for the conference title in a no-holds-barred, knockdown-drag-out thriller that left them both bloodied, bruised, battered and screaming for their mommies.
OK, maybe not.
“We did a coin flip to see who took first and who took second, and I lost,” Barajas said with a laugh. “It will be cool to match up against him. He was my practice partner and he’s a cool guy. He’s going to do great again this year for sure, too.”
Once the wrestling starts, Barajas will have some familiar faces in the stands.
His parents, he said, are happy that they will get to see their son wrestle every weekend next year.
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org