"I was defeated before stepping on to the track," Alanna Smith on Friday recounted her experience facing the male runners. "Mentally, we know the outcome before the race even starts."
"Four times, I ran races fast enough to take home a state championship," Mitchell said.
"Girls across Connecticut and New England all knew the outcome of our races long before the start, and it was extremely demoralizing," Soule said.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in federally-funded education programs and activities.
Brooks argued on Friday that Title IX doesn't just give girls the "chance to compete" in sports, but to do so on an equal playing field mindful of the biological differences between males and females.
"Title IX promises our daughters athletic opportunities and experiences every bit the equal of what their brothers enjoy, but instead, the CIC and Connecticut are giving girls extra lessons in losing," he said.
While the Department of Education in 2020 found that the state's policy violated Title IX, the Biden administration withdrew those findings earlier this week.
President Biden has already signed an executive order stating that people shouldn't be denied public goods based on their gender identity-and ADF and other groups have warned that the order would force women athletes to compete against biological males identifying as transgender females.
On Thursday, the House passed the Equality Act, a sweeping bill that would create protected classes for sexual orientation and gender identity in federal civil rights law. Critics of the bill, including U.S. bishops, have warned that it would threaten girls' sports among a number of areas.
The act "certainly threatens equality on the track," Brooks said, adding that he is "optimistic" the bill won't pass the Senate. Bills such as the Equality Act "ignore the differences between men and women," he said.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.