A trans-identified male student-athlete will be moving on to compete in California's track and field state tournament next week after placing second in the women's 1600-meter race, beating out female competitors that will no longer get the chance to compete for a state title.
Athena Ryan, a biological male, will be advancing to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Track & Field Championships after placing second in the girls' varsity 1600-meter run on Saturday, finishing behind Hanne Thomsen of Montgomery and ahead of Ellie Buckley of Campolindo, Fox News reports.
Ryan had been competing on the Sonoma Academy's boy's track and field team until he transitioned into a female in 2021, according to Daily Mail.
Senior Adeline Johnson, who placed fourth, lost her chances of advancing to the championship meet by one spot and was seen on video during the awards ceremony giving a "thumbs down" while standing next to Ryan who is currently a junior. Johnson, 18, was in a "comeback season" after fracturing her hip in the summer of 2022.
The Independent Council on Women's Sports (ICONS), a network that fights to eliminate trans-identified men from competing against women, posted a series of clips to Twitter that showed Ryan "blowing" his female competitors "out of the water."
"Ryan, still a junior, blew by female seniors in the field signed to run at NCAA Division 1 schools this coming fall," ICONS said on Twitter.
Individuals came to the track meet to protest trans-identified student athletes competing against women and were removed by security, according to ICONS.
"Security removed women from the field seen holding signs in support of girls in the sectional meet. Many parents were completely unaware there was a boy competing in girls races. Others, were appreciative that they were there when they themselves felt silenced," the group wrote on Twitter, sharing photos of women with a banner that reads, "Protect Women's Sports."
The women holding the banner belonged to a group called "Women Are Real" and said that they received praise all evening with members of the crowd coming out of the stands to give them "fist bumps" and "high fives."
After the race, Ryan appeared to be unphased by the protesters and told MileSplit on his second-place finish, "I wasn't expecting that. I dropped like 17 seconds on my season’s best in the past two weeks."
"After last weekend, I didn't think I could run low 5s again. I was just coming here trying to break 5 – just glad I finished it out," Ryan told the outlet, adding that he hopes he does well next week.
University of Kentucky swim star Riley Gaines, who is fighting for women's sports after losing to trans-identified UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas, told Daily Mail, "It's time to step down and give the governing bodies a big thumbs down just as Adeline has done."
California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) outlines its stance on trans-identified athletes competing in their competitions on its website under Gender Identity Participation, which reads:
"All students should have the opportunity to participate in CIF athletics and/or activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity. Currently, most athletic programs are offered separately for boys and girls as outlined in CIF Bylaws 300.B. and C," the section reads.
"Athletes will participate in programs consistent with their gender identity or the gender most consistently expressed. School personnel responsible for student eligibility will work collaboratively with the student-athlete to determine eligibility. Once the student has been granted eligibility to participate in the sport consistent with their gender identity, the eligibility is granted for the duration of the student's participation and does not need to be renewed every sports season or school year."
The US secretary of education Miguel Cardona came under fire last week after failing to protect women's sports from transgender infiltration. The Biden administration has proposed changes to Title IX which paves the way for trans-identified men to compete against women.
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