Transgender athletes are no-shows at CIF state track & field preliminary championships
Two high school track and field athletes did not show up for the CIF state high school track and field preliminary championships Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis following a week of intense criticism and transphobia directed at the two teens.
Athena Ryan of Sonoma Academy-Santa Rosa and Lorelei Barrett of Buckley-Sherman Oaks each qualified for the state meet girls 1,600-meter race but didn’t compete in Friday’s heat races.
The Los Angeles Times reported that “amid fierce dialogue over the fairness and validity of transgender girls competing in girls’ sports, both were the subject of thousands of comments critiquing their gender identity and suggesting they’d taken spots in the preliminaries away from cisgender girls.”
Some online sites, including Independent Council on Women’s Sports, an organization which identifies itself as “advocating for female protected categories in sport,” labeled the two athletes as a “trans-identifying male.”
The organization often posts content opposing transgender athletes.
“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 Los Angeles Times.
“The CIF strongly denounces discriminatory or harassing behaviors that impact our student-athletes [sic] opportunities to participate in interscholastic competitions.”
The CIF protects transgender participation in sports in its bylaws, with its Guidelines for Gender Identity Participation reading: “All 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.”
Both Barrett’s family and the Ryan family declined comment this week
Barrett was third in the Southern Section meet and was seeded fourth out of 26 qualifiers in the state. Ryan placed second in the North Coast Section meet and was the 14th seed.
There were no signs of a protest Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Fresno-area championship qualifiers
Bullard’s Kyle Hughes showcased quite the versatility, qualifying for Saturday’s state championship finals in three events.
Hughes advanced in the long jump after logging the seventh-best mark of 23 feet.
He took fifth in triple jump at 48 feet, 8 3/4 inches.
He also qualified in the boys 110-meter high hurdles after clocking the ninth-fastest time.
Clovis North’s McKay Madsen advanced to the meet championships in two events, qualifying in both the boys shot put and discus. Madsen threw the third farthest in the discus prelims at 186-1.
Clovis North’s Nickolas Miller also qualified in two events after posting the second-fastest mark in the boys 200-meter sprint (21.09) and the fifth-fastest in the 100 (10.53).
Clovis long jumper Sydnie Vanek, the defending state champion, was second in the prelims at 20-1 1/4. She won last year with a leap of 20-8 1/2.
Caruthers’ Nailea Fields qualified in the discus (156-6). She’s the defending champion in the event after winning last season with a mark of 157-01. She also qualified in the shot put.
Other Fresno-area qualifiers: Elle Lomeli (Buchanan, 1,600), Grace Hutchison (Buchanan, 1,600), Teg Pandher (Clovis North, 1,600), Noah Ray (Buchanan, 800), Aidan Ransom (Edison, 800), Zach Weaver (Buchanan, 800), defending champion Clovis North girls 1,600 relay, Central boys 1,600 relay, Clovis boys 1,600 relay, Derek Smith (Buchanan, discus), Julian Ramirez (Dinuba, discus), Loie Madsen (Clovis North, discus), Jose Soto (Tulare Western, shot put), Hilton Green (Buchanan, pole vault), Jordan Leveque (Buchanan, pole vault), Samuel Agbakoba (Central, triple jump), Josh Dunu (Buchanan, triple jump) and Alyssa Murrillo (Clovis East, triple jump).
Repeat winners this year?
There could be some repeat winners from other schools.
The boys sprints are always among the highlights at the state meet. This year all eyes will be on Serra-Gardena’s Rodrick Pleasant, who swept the races in 2021. His Friday night 100 of 10.36 was just .06 off the state meet record.
JSerra Catholic-San Juan Capistrano senior Brendon See, defending champion in the boys discus, had the top qualifying mark by more than 13 feet. He was No. 2 in the shot put in a bid for double gold.
Carson senior Reign Redmond had the fastest time in the girls 100, which she won last year. She had the fourth-best time in the 200, which was led by defending champion Serra-Gardena senior Brazil Neal.
Mackenzie Browne of J.W. North-Riverside will defend her girls 800 title, but she was the slowest of 12 qualifiers.
Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt is attempting a difficult double. She qualified ninth to earn a title defense in the girls 1,600 and was second-fastest in the 800.
Montgomery-Santa Rosa sophomore Hanne Thomsen went through in both girls distance runs. She won the 3,200 last year.
Martin Luther King-Riverside senior Alyssa Hope won the triple jump (40-2.75).
How to get tickets
Only online tickets will be sold for admission through GoFan. Tickets may be purchased by using the link through CIF online ticketing partner, GoFan: gofan.co/app/school/CIF.
Saturday’s finals ticket prices are $8 for children under 13 and seniors 65+ and students (with high school ID) are $8 and general admission is $14.
Stadium gates open: 3:30 p.m.
Field event finals: 4:30 p.m.
Track events: 5:45 p.m.