September 3, 2019
June Eastwood made history on Saturday as she became the first male-to-female transgender athlete to compete in NCAA Division I cross country. Eastwood competed for the University of Montana women’s team at the Clash of the Inland Northwest meet in Cheney, Washington.
Eastwood finished seventh overall, the second finisher on the Montana team, covering the four-kilometer course in 14:33.0. Eastwood’s freshman teammate Beatrix Frissell won the meet, finishing 19.3 seconds ahead of Eastwood.
Montana finished second in the meet, behind Gonzaga University but ahead of the University of Idaho. Without Eastwood competing, the Montana women would have finished third behind Idaho.
Full results below quick take:
LRC Quick Take: Eastwood did not “dominate” the competition as some transgender opponents predicted, but Eastwood did have a material impact on the meet. She said that she has been in full compliance with NCAA eligibility rules, as she has been taking pills to suppress her testosterone levels, and it was obvious that she was not as fast as she was while competing as a man. Eastwood did not win and was arguably a better runner, comparatively, competing as a man than competing as a woman (often, she was the #1 finisher on the Montana men’s team).
That said, the NCAA still needs to implement much stricter guidelines on testosterone levels for transgender athletes. Currently, the NCAA rules only require that transgender athletes undergo one “calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment” but do not have any formal guidelines to try to ensure a level playing field. At the moment, there is no independent verification and no maximum testosterone level permitted. That needs to change.