Two transgender female high school athletes were no-shows for their race at the California State preliminary Track and Field Championship on Friday — a week after they clinched a spot in the elite race.
Athena Ryan, from Sonoma Academy, and Lorelei Barrett of Sherman Oaks Buckley, opted not to participate in the scheduled girl’s 1,600-meter run at Buchanan High in Clovis, Calif., according to The Los Angeles Times.
“The CIF is disappointed for two of our student-athletes and their families because due to the actions of others, they found it necessary to withdraw from the State Track and Field Championships out of concern for the student’s well being,” the California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for high school sports in California, wrote in a statement to the outlet.
The CIF expressed that the organization “strongly denounces discriminatory or harassing behaviors” the student-athletes have been subjected to and are disappointed the runners have chosen not to compete.
Last week, Ryan and Barrett qualified to compete for a chance of winning states after placing in the top three of the girls’ 1,600-meter races at their respective sectional meets.
Ryan, a junior, finished in second place as protests formed, calling her participation in the competition unfair to the other girls.
She also came under fire after a runner who placed fourth was seen on video waving to the crowd before appearing to give a thumbs-down — a gesture taken entirely out of context, the school told The Post.
Barrett, who won third at the Southern Section Masters event last Saturday, was also subjected to similar pressure from the crowd, with a spectator allegedly yelling to “Trip her” repeatedly while she ran her 1,600-meter race, which can be heard on a video.
The Post reached out to Sonoma Academy and Sherman Oaks Buckley.
The outlet asked five local coaches of runners who were in line to compete in Friday’s 1,600-meter heat were asked they felt about transgender females being allegeable.
Three coaches said they would support any athlete who shows up to compete, regardless of how they identify.
The two other coaches shared that they believed transgender girls should run in their own separate races, the outlet reported.
“Adults have created this problem,” said Oaks Christian coach Wesley Smith. “Adults need to fix this problem.”
The California Interscholastic Federation enacted its “Gender Identity Participation” rules in 2013, stating, “All students should have the opportunity to participate in CIF athletics and/or activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity.”
“All of our athletes, all the eligible athletes, are afforded the opportunity to compete with the gender they feel most comfortable with,” Brian Seymour, the CIF’s associate executive director, told The Los Angeles Times.
College swimming star Riley Gaines slammed the two runners for not competing saying,: “Did they realize they clearly possess an unfair advantage?”
The University of Kentucky swimmer has gained notoriety for vocalizing her displeasure with transgender females competing in female biological sports since facing Penn State swimmer Lia Thomas — a transgender female.
Gaines tied with Thomas for fifth place in the 200-meter freestyle NCAA championships in March and has loudly criticized Thomas since then.
“Women are brave people, but it shouldn’t take bravery to demand equal treatment. And if our leaders cannot deliver fairness to sports and athletics, then we need different leaders. Our next generation of girls deserves to see themselves as champions – not “oppressors” – and we all deserve a clear voice in this debate,” Gaines wrote in an op-ed for The Post.