Male Runner Costs High School Girl Chance At State Track Meet


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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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A transgender athlete will advance to the state championships after placing second at a California track meet on Saturday, Daily Mail reported.

Athena Ryan, a transgender athlete from Sonoma Academy, ran the second-best time in the 1600-meter race at the CIF-North Coast Section Meet of Champions, according to Daily Mail. Ryan will advance to the California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships along with the first- and the third-place finisher, displacing fourth-place finisher Adeline Johnson from Branson High School from competing. (RELATED: School That Refused To Compete Against Transgender Player Banned From Future Sporting Events)

“Young girls in high school are missing out on roster spots and opportunities for advancement across the country in every sport. We cannot tell the next generation of girls that they are not worthy of fair treatment,” Marshi Smith, Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) co-founder, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s time for the majority to demand that girls be included in their own state finals. Legislators must act now to ensure a place for women in sports or watch it be completely erased.”

Video of the podium, posted by ICONS, show Johnson giving a quick thumbs-down motion with her hand before stepping up on the fourth-place block.

“The ‘thumbs down’ gesture made by Branson runner Adeline Johnson on the infield at the NCS Meet of Champions on May 20, 2023 was a response to her mother regarding Adeline’s individual performance, and it should not be construed as a statement about her competitors,” Assistant Head of School Nathalio Gray told the DCNF.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Ryan, who ran a 4:55.91, told MileSplit after the race. “I’ve dropped like 17 seconds on my season best in the past two weeks so after last weekend I didn’t think I could run low 5s again. I was just coming here trying to break 5 and I’m just glad I finished it out.”

Women Are Real, an advocacy group that pushes back against policies that allow biological males in female spaces, protested at the track meet with a sign that read “Protect Female Sports,” according to a video posted on Twitter. The group was told by one attendee that their sign was “offensive,” while others told them “thank you” and gave high-fives.

The group was later escorted from the venue by security, video shows.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) permits athletes to compete in the division that matches their gender identity, according to its “Guidelines for Gender Identity Participation.”

“California law permits students to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records,” Rebecca Brutlag, California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) media relations officer, told the DCNF. “Additionally, in accordance with California law, CIF Bylaw 300. D. provides that students should have the opportunity to participate in CIF activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records.”

Sonoma Academy, CIF-North Coast Section and Women Are Real did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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