- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Big Sky Conference named a University of Montana runner its “Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week,” without mentioning that June Eastwood is transgender and was a winning runner for the Grizzlies male team just last year.

According to the Conference’s site, “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.”

Earlier this month, according to the Montana Grizzlies athletic site, June Eastwood finished first in the women’s cross-country race at the Montana Invitation.

Neither the Big Sky nor the University pages in question note that the runner was born Jonathan Eastwood and was running in the male divisions very recently.

Joel Carlson, a spokesman for Montana’s Sports Information Department, told The College Fix, which reported the Jonathan-June transition and the university’s reticence, that he didn’t intend anything by not identifying sex or gender in the news release.

“I guess that’s just the way I write it,” he wrote in an email, adding that he did the same on at least two other occasions for Montana athletes recognized by the Big Sky Conference.

Before becoming June Eastwood, Jonathan Eastwood had had notable success racing against men.

For example, he won a 5,000-meter race at Montana State University in 2017, according to a post by Bill Zwerger at the American Thinker site that linked to the results page.

“I have the sneaking suspicion that his latest second-place finish was … seeking to minimize the negative publicity his winning yet again would have garnered, along with the outrage his female opponents must feel in having a male win every race against them. It will be interesting to see what happens when he competes in the NCAA D1 championships, whether he again backs off at the end or instead decides to end his collegiate X-C career as the champion…of women,” Mr. Zwerger wrote.

The Grizzlies’ team page for Jonathan Eastwood was still active Wednesday, identifying him as “a 2015 graduate of Belgrade High” and as majoring in “women’s, gender and sexuality studies.”

Among his listed achievements are placing seventh in the Big Sky conference championships in the 1,500 meter race in 2018 and making the academic all-conference team for the 2017-18 year.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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