A trans-identified male runner has led his team to win a Washington cross-country championship.
Aspen Hoffman, a junior at Seattle Academy, placed fourth in the Women’s 5,000 meter race at the Wesco/Emerald Sound Cross Country Championships on Saturday with a time of 20:10.70.
Despite two female runners from King’s Christian High School taking first and second, Seattle Academy came out in first place with a score of 65, three points lower than King’s. Cross country meets rank teams by the lowest score, meaning the higher the finish for the runner, the lower the points.
Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who competed against former UPenn swimmer and biological male Lia Thomas, wrote on X, "He held the team trophy up and started kissing it. He acted like it was solely his forgetting to share it with the girls. Revolting."
"Girls were warned not to say anything/act up on the podium or else they would be suspended ruining their chances of going to State. Parents were warned not to wear political shirts. A coach got suspended for yelling 'fair sports for girls,’" Gaines added, giving congratulations to the "rightful championship team," Kings.
Hoffman competed as a male in the 2021 season as a freshman, finishing the season overall in 72nd place, according to Fox News.
As an identified male student-athlete, Hoffman did not finish ahead of 25th place, but as a sophomore female-identified runner, Hoffman did not finish below 22nd place, taking one conference championship victor and three top-two finishes.
Notably, Hoffman finished in 134th place at the 14th annual Twilight XC Invitational with a time of 19:46.50. Competing as a female in the 2022 running of the competition, Hoffman finished in 12th place, running just 2.6 seconds faster.
At the time, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association told the outlet, "WIAA Gender Identity eligibility rules, which have been in place for more than 13 years, follow Washington state non-discrimination laws which protects full access to athletic activities for students."
"Federal law under Title IX also requires equal treatment for all participants, regardless of gender identity. Additionally, these policies reflect the core value of the Association to maximize participation in education-based athletics, which provide the safest and most meaningful opportunities for students to engage with and represent their school."
Speaking with Libs of TikTok after the conclusion of the 2022 season, one father said, "[Hoffman] is larger than any of the girls, and shamelessly takes 1st place on the podium. Now my daughter is competing against a male for scholarships. And we can’t even say anything. You can’t even approach it in a nice way without being labeled a hateful bigot. You will get threats against you."
Another parent said, "parents are upset but they know it has to go to the state committee, which isn't politics, it's the state high school board, and unless there's any kind of pressure put on them to change the rule nothing's going to happen."
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