University of Montana athlete June Eastwood. (Image source: UM News video screenshot)
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Is the playing field level?
A transgender female cross country runner in Montana won women's athlete of the week honors in an NCAA athletics conference, beating out biological women after having competed for part of her career against men, according to The College Fix.
June Eastwood of the University of Montana was named the Big Sky Conference Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Week on Tuesday. The accomplishment that won her the award was a second-place finish in the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational that helped Montana finish seventh as a team.
Eastwood competed as a male as recently as December 2017 as Jonathan Eastwood, winning a 5,000-meter race by the significant margin of 13 seconds over male competitors.
The University of Montana, in its news release about the award, did not specify a gender when referring to it, only saying Eastwood won an "Athlete of the Week" award.
However, Montana athletics communications official Joel Carlson said he wasn't making any sort of statement by omitting the gender, something he has done in previous months' releases.
"I guess that's just the way I write it," Carlson told The College Fix in an email.
The NCAA's policy on transgender athletes allows female-to-male athletes to compete on men's teams if they receive a "medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria and/or transsexualism." Male-to-female athletes can compete on female teams only after having received "testosterone suppression medication for gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria and/or transsexualism" for one calendar year.
For transgender athletes who are not taking any hormone treatments, female-to-male athletes can compete on male or female teams, while male-to-female athletes can only compete on the male team unless they complete the one year of testosterone suppression.
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