Mack Beggs had just won a state wrestling title Saturday in a category he didn’t want to be in.

But rather of wallowing in a debate about what ought to or must not have occurred this weekend at the Texas state girls wrestling tournament, the 17-year-old transgender boy merely decided to be a fantastic teammate.

“I would not be right here currently if it weren’t for my teammates,” he said. “That is honestly what the spotlight ought to have been on is my teammates. The hard work that I put in in the practice room with them, beside me — we educated tough each and every, single day. Every, single day and that is where the spotlight should have been on. Not me. All of these guys. Simply because I would not be right here without having them.”

Beggs completed an undefeated season by winning a controversial title in an occasion clouded by criticism from these who think the testosterone he’s taking as he transitions from female to male made an unfair advantage.

His family has stated he would rather be wrestling boys, but state policy calls for students to wrestle against the gender listed on their birth certificates. So the junior from Euless Trinity beat Chelsea Sanchez 12-2 in the 110-pound weight class to improve to 56- and earn the championship.

Beggs was surrounded by the girls he’d worked so hard with all season when he lastly broke his silence Saturday night following the team finish second in Class 6A, the largest division in Texas.

After thanking all of them, he lifted the gold medal hanging on his neck to the assembled cameras and shared a parting thought following all that he’d been through this weekend.

“Challenging operate ethic pays off,” he mentioned. “Just saying.”

Earlier Saturday, Beggs fell to his knees for a moment following his win in the final as a mixture of cheers and boos rained down on him. He then hugged his coach and left the mat.

He had a bit of exciting with his fellow wrestlers at the medal ceremony when he counted down from three and all six of the prime finishers posed by doing a dab on the medal stand.

Beggs, who reached the state tournament soon after two opponents forfeited, was dogged all through the event by concerns about irrespective of whether his testosterone treatment options created him also powerful to wrestle relatively against girls.

The University Interscholastic League, which oversees athletics in Texas public schools, enacted the birth certificate policy Aug. 1. And though Beggs’ household has said he wanted to compete against boys, UIL deputy director Jamey Harrison, who refused to address Beggs straight, stated they had not received a request to alter divisions from any athlete at this competition.

Harrison believes that the outcome of the tournament was fair, regardless of concerns about Beggs.

“Practically nothing that has occurred at this year’s wrestling championships has the UIL reconsidering its rules simply because really frankly we don’t believe that any troubles getting reported on are truly a product of UIL guidelines,” he mentioned.

Beggs pinned Kailyn Clay earlier Saturday to reach the final. That was right after he beat Taylor Latham and Mya Engert handily on Friday to attain the semifinals.

In the semifinals, the match was halted for a couple of minutes because Beggs had a bloody nose. Trainers ultimately managed to cease the bleeding and the fight resumed. Not extended after, Beggs slammed Clay on the mat and pinned her.

He and Clay shared a long hug ahead of an official raised Beggs’ arm to signal victory, and the wrestler scurried off the mat. Clay’s coached shouted to reporters that she “did not have permission” to speak to them right after her loss and both of her parents declined comment.

Beggs’ participation comes at a important moment, with the public and politicians debating the expanding belief that gender is fluid. Just this week, the Trump administration announced an finish to federal protections that allowed transgender students to use facilities based on their gender identity, leaving states and college districts to ascertain their own policies.

And in Texas, lawmakers are contemplating a bill related to HB2, the North Carolina law that prompted the NBA to move this year’s All-Star Game out of that state. If passed, the Texas version, referred to as SB6, would demand transgender people today to use the bathroom of their “biological sex.”

Lawyer Jim Baudhuin tried and failed to get injunctions just before both the district and regional meets to stop Beggs from competing although he transitions because he is taking testosterone. Baudhuin, who is the parent of a wrestler at a different school who has by no means faced Beggs, told The Associated Press earlier this week he does not blame Beggs for the predicament, but faults the UIL.

“The more I study about this, the more I comprehend that she’s just trying to reside her life and her family members is, as well,” Baudhuin said. “She’s becoming forced into that position. Who knows, via discovery we may find out that’s not the case. But each indication is, the way the winds are going now, the blame rests with the UIL and the superintendents.”

Regardless of criticism of the policy, UIL executives do not envision a adjust.

“Ninety-5 % of the school superintendents in Texas voted for the rule as it was proposed, which was to use birth certificates,” Harrison said. “So any rule can be reconsidered, but … given the overwhelming assistance for that rule, I do not count on it to alter anytime soon.”

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