“Especially at the time, those state championships meant a lot to me. To train and work that hard to be in the contention for a state championship and lose because of biological males in my race was really disheartening and frustrating.”
The ACLU of Connecticut, which represented CIAC and its member schools in the suit — along with Miller and Yearwood who joined as defendants — did not respond to CNA’s request for comment.
A CIAC spokesman told CNA the conference had no comment.
Because of the CIAC policy, Smith walked away from a regional New England meet with a bronze medal instead of a silver because a male took first place.
“All the other female athletes weren’t able to advance to the state open or the New England Regional meet because the spots were taken by biological males,” Smith said.
Soule lost the opportunity to qualify for the meet and the 55-meter dash, which she had previously qualified for, for the same reason.
“I was forced to watch my own event from the sidelines,” Soule added.
ADF senior counsel Christiana Kiefer said that on average, males have a 10%–15% higher performance average than females.
“Why should girls even try?” Kiefer asked. “The whole reason we even have women’s sports as a separate category is because we recognize those real physical differences.”
Uphill battle ahead for future of girls’ sports
The girls’ case was dismissed earlier last year by a Connecticut district court judge when it was submitted. ADF then appealed the ruling to the 2nd Court of Appeals.
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“What the district court did in dismissing the girls’ lawsuit is essentially [say] that their inaccurate records, their lost opportunities didn’t matter. And that’s simply wrong under Title IX,” Kiefer said.
“Records do matter to athletes,” Kiefer added. “Chelsea Mitchell lost four state championship titles. She was four times the fastest girl in a state championship race, and yet the record books don’t reflect her accomplishments. That’s something that needs to be fixed.”
The complaint requests that CIAC grant the plaintiffs monetary relief, update the district’s records to remove males from the scores, and strike down the policy.
Kiefer said that ADF was “optimistic” the court of appeals will rule in their favor because the Title IX violation was so “clear.”
She added that they hope it won’t be necessary to bring the case to the Supreme Court, “but if necessary, we will take this case as far as it needs to go.”
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