Two Washington Track Coaches Speak Out After Witnessing a Male Athlete Crush Female Competitors

By Mallory Sailer

Track coaches Brad Anderson and Jason Keniston followed their passion for sports as student-athletes in grade school and college, to careers in coaching, now working at Liberty High School in King County, Washington. Anderson, the boys’ track head coach, and Keniston, the girls’ track head coach, both embarked on their careers hoping to positively impact the next generation of athletes. 

However, they didn’t anticipate having to grapple with male athletes appearing to effortlessly rob female athletes of opportunities and recognition under the guise of inclusivity.

This issue came to the forefront of their coaching careers when Keniston and Anderson witnessed a male athlete, identifying as a transgender female, take a podium spot and championship title from rightfully deserving female athletes at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) state track meet in May 2024. 

In October 2022, Veronica Garcia competed in the boy’s 5,000-meter JV race, placing 164th out of 172. Less than two years later, Garcia competed in the girls’ 400-meter race. He “just completely blew the competition away,” winning by at least 30 to 40 meters, remarked Coach Keniston, adding: 

“How can anyone think this is fair, regardless of the politics of our world and our country?”

The issue was “really right in your face at state,” said Coach Anderson in an interview with Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), describing the moment when he witnessed Veronica Garcia, the male athlete identifying as a female, win first place in the girl’s 400-meter race with a time of 55.59 at the state meet. Not only did Garcia win first place, but Coach Keniston told IWF that Garcia’s win gave his school, East Valley Spokane High School, 10 points for his 400-meter race win. 

From there, Coach Keniston said, “Their team ended up winning the state championship by eight points.” 

“And they shouldn’t have,” he added.

After witnessing these events, the coaches said, “What can we do, or what can be done?” According to Keniston, an acquaintance subsequently sent him Riley Gaines’ X post about the state championship meet, which ultimately inspired him to share his story with IWF.

“It was very quiet. There [were] a couple people booing,” said Keniston, recalling the moment Garcia took his place on the podium. “This individual robbed these girls of their podium spot, and the girl who could have come in eighth [place] didn’t even get to be on the podium and earn a medal.”

According to Coach Keniston, Cedar Crest High School should have been the “rightful state champions,” but ended up in second place. 

“Their coaches and everyone who gave everything to their program deserved a title, and they’ll never get that,” Coach Keniston said.

Coach Anderson recognized that East Valley Spokane had a “great season,” but from his perspective, their female athletes merited second place. He added that the imbalance of athletic abilities doesn’t simply impact the female athletes robbed of their titles—unfair “wins” like these, he said, are “hurting a whole school community now.”

Both coaches emphasized that despite the great performance of the female athletes competing against Garcia, they were no match for the male athlete’s biological advantage.

“[One] girl just put a heck of a time on the board –– great time –– and she still loses. That was hard to watch,” said Coach Anderson. Coach Keniston said the girls “ran incredible” and that he wants to “give them credit” for their effort.

“When you come down to a sport, an endurance sport especially, I think the numbers always speak pretty clearly that biological males are faster, and I just don’t know how you can argue otherwise,” Coach Anderson said. “There’s a difference. [To] say there’s not is an injustice.”

While some argue that what happened at Liberty High School is rare, Coaches Keniston and Anderson emphasized that they’re not the only coaches urgently concerned with the influence gender ideology is having on scholastic sports.

​​“There’s a large group that stands against this, however, they’re like most, where we feel the need to hide under this mask of going along with it out of fear that if you are willing to just speak up and say what you believe, even just your opinion, there is going to be a repercussion,” said Coach Keniston. 

Initially, Coach Keniston hesitated to speak publicly on the incident. If you do, he said, “Your job is at risk, your livelihood, you’ll be labeled a bigot or this and that.” But, he said he and Coach Anderson ultimately decided to share their perspectives because “we actually just care about kids, and we want what’s best for everybody.”

Coaches Keniston and Anderson hope that, by speaking out, other coaches and instructors will follow in their footsteps, as more incidents of biological males taking podium spots, state championships, and scholarships from rightfully deserving female athletes happen across the country.

Believing that change could come soon, Coach Keniston said, “We are going to speak up. We don’t back down from bullies.”

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