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Justin Gallegos caps off career at track and field state meet

Hart senior participates in first-ever Paralympic Division

Posted: June 2, 2016 11:23 p.m.
Updated: June 2, 2016 11:23 p.m.
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Hart High’s Justin Gallegos is getting to end his four-year track career somewhere he might never have expected.

The senior distance runner will run the 400-meter dash Friday and the 200 on Saturday night in the first-ever CIF State Track and Field Championships, Paralympic Division at Clovis High.

“It definitely means a lot. I’m really glad that I get to be a part of the first generation of Paralympics at state,” Gallegos said. “I’m glad I’ve come this far, and I’m really glad I get to represent Hart High and the entire Santa Clarita Valley.”

Gallegos was born with a physical disorder known as cerebral palsy, but found his passion for running in his freshman year.

And for the past four years, Gallegos’ dedication to running has been an inspiration.

“(This meet) is really important,” Gallegos said. “I’m glad that I get to continue to share my story with people and continue to be an inspiration, not only to the disabled, but to everyone else that (is) around me.”

Usually, Gallegos runs long distances, like the 1600- and 3200-meter runs, but in the Paralympic Division’s first year the CIF has chosen to host four events, the 100, 200, 400 and shot put.

On Friday evening, Gallegos has the chance to compete for a state title in the 400, and on Saturday night another opportunity in the 200.

“He’s not totally foreign to shorter distances,” said Hart track and field head coach Larry David. “We ran him in some races in the season to get official times that we could submit to CIF to see whether or not he would qualify. And since league finals, he’s been training.

“He’s such an inspiration to everyone everywhere he’s gone, in addition to his teammates of course,” David said. “It’s so fitting for him to have this opportunity and a great way to finish his four years.”

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