Feminist Writing. Fourth Wave. For Women.

Boy Wins Medals in Hawaii Girls’ Track and Field, Awarded ‘Outstanding Athlete’

At Kea’au High School, half of the 'girls' relay team is now boys

Two boys have sparked heated debate across Hawaii after competing in — and winning — multiple girls’ track and field competitions. Lana Huff and Frankie-Lyn Mocilio were permitted to compete on the Kea’au High School girls’ track team because they “identify” as girls.

Lana Huff, who previously ran boy’s cross country as Brandon Huff, went from being ranked 72nd in the girls' 200-meter race to number 19 in the state rankings all within one week. He won a medal for both the 200 meter and pole vaulting, and in the process took a state qualifying spot away from a female athlete. Huff ended the season as one of the top 24 female athletes in the State of Hawai’i, qualifying him for the state championships. Only 24 girls statewide can claim this honor thanks to their hard work and dedication — but, with Huff’s participation, that number goes down to 23 girls eligible for a spot.

Huff would have ranked 565th in the state for the boys if he hadn’t switched to the girls' team.

Huff received a bronze medal in the girls 200 meter race

Boys Now Make up Half of the 'Girls' Relay Team at Kea’au High School

Huff is not the only trans-identified male on the school’s team. He and his teammate Frankie-Lyn Molcilio (another male), make up half of the 'girls' relay team at Kea’au High School.

There is also a third male track athlete who identifies as “trans” at the same school. However, he has chosen to compete on the boys’ team — an option also available to Huff and Molicilion. Yet, they choose to compete with the girls where they can rank higher.

In November of 2023 Huff, a sophomore was awarded the girls' 'Outstanding Athlete' accolade at Kea’au High School, and was lauded on the school’s Instagram page in a since-deleted post.

“She achieved a 4th place finish, while her competitor, a biological male identifying as a girl, took 3rd place.”

Huff’s rapid ascent to a top spot and state championship qualifying time within a week highlights the disparity between male and female athletes. Erika Manikis, a Hawai’i island resident whose daughter competed against Huff, believes there should be separate categories for male and female athletes.

“My daughter, a Waiākea High School vaulter, recently competed in the pole vaulting event at the BIIF championships,” Makikis told 4W. “She achieved a 4th place finish, while her competitor, a biological male identifying as a girl, took 3rd place.”

While Manikis respects that some students may be gender non-conforming, she knows that biological males still retain an advantage in sports. Although her daughter still qualified for states, she told me she believes the situation was unfair to the female athletes.

“Almost everyone seems to think it is wrong.”

Head coach of the Waiākea track and field team, Nathan Cockett, agrees with Manikis. He voiced his concerns over the boys competing in the female division to the track and field officials and was told that there was nothing that could be done to stop it from happening. Cockett told 4W that the rules allowing the boys to compete with the girls should be changed, or that a new sports division should be created for trans-identified athletes that is completely separate from the female events.

Huff (2nd) received a silver medal in pole vaulting at the BIIF championships.

Hawai’i Island track and field referee and retired coach Jordan Rosado told 4W:

“Almost everyone I’ve talked to seems to think it (boys in girls sporting competitions) is wrong. The powers that be don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. I’ve heard it said that they have to oblige them. Something about Title IX. I didn’t find out about this (males competing on the female teams) until the third or fourth track meet. When I found out I asked who they were, from what school, and no one would tell me. I figured it out by observation.”

Despite growing opposition to allowing males to compete on the female teams, Rosado says, “Many people are reluctant to share their views.”

Cynthia Montelone Leads the Push to Save Women’s Sports in Hawai’i

At the forefront of the pushback to stop this is Cynthia Montelone, a renowned American track athlete, particularly known for her achievements in the 400 meters. She is a World Champion in Masters athletics, a high school and Olympic coach, and a concerned mother and community member. Originally from Maui, Hawai’i, and now based on Hawai'i island, Monteleone has spoken out against the inclusion of trans-identified male athletes in women's events, citing concerns about fairness and safety. “Many of the Hawai’i coaches and Athletic Directors are afraid to speak out. I am not afraid. Someone needs to have a voice for these girls”, Monteleone told 4W.

Both Cynthia and her daughter have been forced to compete against males in sports. At the 2018 World Masters Athletics Championships in Málaga, Spain Monteleone raced against Yanelle Del Mar Zape, a trans-identified male from Colombia. Monteleone narrowly defeated Zape by a few tenths of a second to advance to the final round of the 200-meter race. When Cynthia raised concerns about the fairness of a biological male competing in women's events, USA Track and Field administrators advised her to remain silent, saying, “For your own safety, you might want to keep your mouth shut.”

Cynthia’s daughter, Margaret, at the time a sophomore at St. Anthony School on the island of Maui, faced a similar situation. Margaret competed against a biological male in a high school track meet, placing second behind the boy in her first and only meet of the season before COVID-19 interrupted the competitions. The student had previously been playing on the boy’s volleyball team.

Photo: Cynthia and Margaret Monteleone (photo: Independent Women’s Forum/QuickFrame

Currently, Hawai’i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) allows male athletes to simply self-identify into female competitions. HHSAA has no formal or written policy regarding trans-identified athletes competing, but they claim to follow The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the body that writes the rules of competition for most high school sports and activities in the United States. The NFHS advises sports organizations to create their own policies. Heading into the 2023-2024 school year, ESPN released an article regarding transgender athlete laws that stated, "The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has no discernible policy, and the state has no law. Bills that would prohibit transgender girls from participating in girls' and women's sports have been filed, but none has passed." This is a loophole that no one seems to want to take responsibility for.

“I am not afraid. Someone needs to have a voice for these girls.”

However, the Biden administration’s Department of Education recently introduced a new rule requiring schools to allow biological males who “identify” as female to compete in women’s sports. This rule undercuts the very purpose of Title IX, while also threatening Title IX funding for schools that fail to comply.

The principal of Kea’au High School, Dean Cevallos, has said that he is following the State of Hawai’i Department of Education policy which allows self-identification into female sports. Monteleone has had an active civil rights complaint against the Department of Education (DOE) since 2020,  which is still being investigated. The complaint states that DOE oversees HHSAA and is violating Title IX by discriminating against females.

In an interview with Island News on May 8th, Principal Cevallos was asked if he's heard any complaints as a result of trans-identified athletes participating.

"I've never received any complaints, not to my knowledge", he responded.

Left: Huff awarded track & field, Right: Dean Cevallos, Principal, Kea'au High School (photo: Civil Beat)

Monteleone, who has been vocal about her concerns for years, has shared with 4W two emails sent to Cevallos, dated May 1st and May 6th, in which she stated her concerns. Principal Cevallos did not respond to a request for comment from 4W.

Most people don’t realize how firmly the history of Title IX is rooted in Hawai’i. Congresswoman Patsy Mink, a twelve-term Member of Congress from Hawai’i, played a pivotal role in developing and defending Title IX. Mink fought for women and girls to have a place to safely showcase their unique physical abilities in a level playing field.

The principle of fair play, which is fundamental to competitive sports, is being challenged by what is happening in Hawai’i and across the USA. Historically, fair competition has been ensured by categorizing athletes based on various physical differences such as age and weight, and by separating sports into male and female divisions. On average, male bodies are larger, faster, and stronger than female bodies. Female sports offer women the opportunity to showcase their top physical abilities, which they would not be able to do in mixed-sex competitions.

In Hawai’i now, it appears that it is more convenient for athletic organizations to showcase men who identify as women as symbols of social justice, "diversity," and "inclusion" rather than addressing the real issues faced by female athletes.

Girls deserve fair competition at every level in sport — and this can only be achieved in a category exclusive to female athletes based on sex.

If you’d like to express your concern over this issue, please email the HHSAA at: [email protected]

*Editor's Note: A previous headline of this article incorrectly referred to Huff as "Hawaiian." This was an error by the editor and not the author. The headline has been updated to reflect that Huff is a resident of Hawaii.

Also new by Jaclynn Joyce:

Court Approves First “Female to Male” Self-ID in Taiwan
This marks the second case of self-identification, and first ‘female to male’ self-ID, in Taiwan.