A transgender high school athlete beat girls in the Connecticut track state championship Tuesday, but his time would have placed him last in the boys’ race.

Andraya Yearwood, a freshman at Cromwell High School, placed first in the girls’ 100-meter and 200-meter dash finals against girls from other schools in the region, according to Turtleboy Sports. But his time would have earned him last place in both boys’ competitions.

Yearwood finished the girls’ 100-meter dash with a time of 12.66 seconds and the girls’ 200-meter dash in 26.08 seconds.

The last-place finishers for the boys’ 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, Shayne Beckloff and Terrance Gallishaw, finished the races in 11.73 seconds and 25.59 seconds, respectively.

“It feels really good,” said Yearwood to The Day. “I’m really happy to win both titles … I kind of expected it. I’ve always gotten first, so I expected it to some extent. … I’m really proud of it.”

“She has just been a member of the team running hard day in and day out,” said Brian Calhoun, Yearwood’s coach to the Hartford Courant in April, when Yearwood was first allowed to compete. “It has been like every other athlete. We have a girl on the team who runs pretty quickly. And I think the girls are pretty happy to have a girl on the team that runs pretty quickly. … It is going to be a positive thing for the whole team.”

As of April, Yearwood had yet to have a sexual reassignment surgery or take hormone and puberty blockers.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), which oversees the state’s high school sports, lets the student and his or her school determine gender identification for the purposes of competition. The organization asserts that it is against state and federal law to prevent a student from competing on a gender-specific sports team that aligns with the student’s public gender identity, according to the Hartford Courant.

“I know they’ll say it is unfair and not right, but my counter to that is: Why not?” said Ngozi Nnaji, Yearwood’s mother, to the Hartford Courant. “She is competing and practicing and giving her all and performing and excelling based on her skills. Let that be enough. Let her do that, and be proud of that.”

Transgender individuals competing in gendered sports leagues have sparked controversies recently. Laurel Hubbard, born a biological male, won a weightlifting competition in March and Ice Wangyot, an Alaskan boy-to-girl transgender, also competed in a girls’ track race.

BACKGROUND

Female students at a Connecticut high school are welcoming a boy who identifies as a woman onto their track team for the first time.

Andraya Yearwood, a freshman boy who identifies as a girl, recently joined Cromwell High School’s female track team, reports the Hartford Courant.

Yearwood’s teammates have no problem with a boy on their team. One teammate called Yearwood brave for his decision to identify as a girl.  Yearwood’s coach said his presence on the team was just like having any other girl except this one runs very fast.

“She has just been a member of the team running hard day in and day out,” Coach Brian Calhoun said to the Hartford Courant. “It has been like every other athlete. We have a girl on the team who runs pretty quickly. And I think the girls are pretty happy to have a girl on the team that runs pretty quickly. … It is going to be a positive thing for the whole team.”

Yearwood’s school district gave him permission to participate on the girls’ team. He is considering sexual reassignment surgery to transition to female and plans to take puberty and hormone blockers.

Another transgender athlete in Texas faced criticism for competing on the girls’ wrestling team. Mack Beggs, a girl undergoing testosterone treatment to become a boy, competed against girls for an entire season and won the state championship wrestling title in the girls division in February.

Beggs was not able to compete against boys because of a University Interscholastic League (UIL) policy. The organization, which controls athletic programs in Texas, says that a person must compete according to their biological sex.

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