Reagan Gallagher (left) and Hans Leza both have generated big news from their workouts at Auxiliary Stadium this summer. For the second time in her young career, Reagan is headed to Pennsylvania in two weeks to compete with North America's fastest 200-meter runners and Hans clinched a berth to the Games of Texas where he'll compete in the 1600-meter run. He captured third place this past weekend at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (TAAF) regional meet in Beaumont with the time of 6:43 for the 9 and 10-year-old boys division.
Daniel Boone, the famous frontiersman, got his trail-blazing start in Pennsylvania.
Now a young lady from Pasadena will be blazing not her first trail to Pennsylvania, but her second.
Reagan Gallagher’s state championship-time in the 200-meter run at last month’s Hershey’s Texas meet has qualified her for the prestigious Hershey’s North American Finals in Hershey, Pa.
Summer track and field coach Gerardo Espinoza, who has had Gallagher in his program for the last five summers, revealed the big news at Monday’s practice at Auxiliary Stadium.
It may be big news but it’s certainly not surprising news that Gallagher will be competing with the fastest 11 and 12-year-old 200-meter runners from the entire North American continent. So potentially, Gallagher could also be up against girls from Canada.
Even before it became official, Gallagher’s state title run of 27.09 seconds on June 21 was beating more than half of the times the girls in the age group ran last year in Pennsylvania.
Espinoza believes it’s just a matter of time before Gallagher breaks 27 seconds and starts running in the high 26s.
“She’s going to run against some good competition up at nationals and that will push her. Hopefully that will push her to the 26 time. Whatever, she’s a hard-working young lady. That’s a coach’s gift, a hard-working athlete. They come out here and do the drills, work on their build-ups, work on their form, the whole thing and that’s what’s fun,” Espinoza said.
“I hope when I get up there, I can get a 26, get out of the 27s,” Gallagher said.
One can’t fully grasp how tremendous it is for a girl in the 11 and 12-year-old age group to run a 27-second reading until you realize it’s already equivalent to the times the local high school athletes ran this past season.
At the 22-5A district track meet in April, the first-place qualifier was a Pearland athlete with the time of 26.53 seconds. A Manvel runner was next at 27.19 seconds and a Sam Rayburn athlete took third at 27.62 seconds.
But this will be Gallagher’s second trip to the North American Final. Two years ago, she raced in the 200-meters, capturing third place. With the two trips, Gallagher becomes the first-ever Pasadena ISD female student to clinch two trips to Hershey’s.
Having that experience under her belt should help her. Perhaps last time she went just to soak in the experience. This time, she may have an agenda on her mind and that would be to capture the title.
“I was younger too, more nervous. Now I know what to expect,” Gallagher said. “It just felt good to be there. When I got third place, it felt good since it was my first time.”
So what will be the young lady’s goal in two weeks?
“First or second but probably first,” Gallagher said.