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Transgender Runner Wins NCAA Conference's 'Female Athlete of the Week'

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The Big Sky Conference has named a transgender athlete as its female cross country runner of the week.

June Eastwood, who formerly competed as Jonathan Eastwood, joined the women’s cross-country team at the University of Montana this fall.

Eastwood became the first transgender athlete to compete on an NCAA Division I women’s running team, and was honored by the Big Sky Conference this week.

“June Eastwood finished second in a field of 204 runners at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, Calif. Eastwood clocked a time of 20:18 in the 6k race to help Montana place seventh as a team,” the conference said Tuesday in a news release announcing the award.

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Eastwood has not finished below seventh in any of the University of Montana’s races this fall.

Eastwood won the Montana Invitational in early October and finished third at the Montana State Classic last month, according to the Missoulian.

Eastwood, who had been a competitive runner on the men’s squad for three years, stopped competing for about a year and half before emerging this fall for what, in a YouTube interview, Eastwood called “the storm.”

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Eastwood is aware of criticism that surrounds the issue of transgender athletes on women’s teams, but said, “I didn’t want to give up doing what I love just because of who I am.”

To meet NCAA guidelines, Eastwood has been taking testosterone-suppressing drugs for the past year.

However, the issue of runners born as men competing with biological women remains controversial.

In Connecticut, three high school athletes have sued over the state’s policy of letting transgender athletes compete against biological women, saying the policy is unfair to biological women, according to CBS News.

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According to the running blog Let’s Run, Eastwood’s best times while running on a male team are significantly faster than many long-standing NCAA records held by women.

But Eastwood has the backing of his coach.

Brian Schweyen, head coach of the University of Montana’s track and field program, said he’s fully supportive of Eastwood’s decision to compete on the women’s team.

“There will be mistakes made and lessons learned,” Schweyen said.

“But those lessons will be fantastic.”

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
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Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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