Aayden Gallagher accepts her gold medal at Oregon's state championship in May. | Anonymous reader

Oregon 10th grader Aayden Gallagher ended a dream season in winning style Saturday. She powered to a win in the OSAA Class 6A 200-meter final at her state’s championship meet at iconic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in 23.82 seconds. The transgender athlete also took home a silver medal in the 400-meter.

The Portland McDaniel High School sophomore has been a sleeper hit in high school track in a state that reveres the sport this season. She has also been a lightning rod of sorts for being a transgender girl competing in sports during a time where some are talking about trans girls like her from being in the women’s game.

Her 200-meter win involved a charge down the final stretch as she trailed conference rival in fellow sophomore, and Class 6A 100-meter gold medalist, Aster Jones of Portland Roosevelt for most of the race. The two first locked horns in April at the Sherwood Need for Speed Classic when Jones took home a convincing victory that day with Gallagher in second.

Video courtesy: NFHS Network/Oregon School Activities Association

Prior to her 200-meter state win, Gallagher contested the 400-meter final. That race ended up being a story that will be retold for years to come.

Lake Oswego senior Josie Donelson, seeking to repeat her quadruple gold success of 2023, was the odds-on favorite and it showed as she tore to the lead through first two hundred meters. When she made up the stagger on Gallagher in the backstretch, the sophomore pushed the match the senior’s pace and the fight was on.

Gallagher retook the lead through 300 meters and it set up a final stretch shootout where Donelson showed why she’s dominated this event for 3 years. The defending state champion won in a state record 52.83 seconds and became the first Oregon high school girl to break the 53-second barrier in the event.

Gallagher’s 52.98-second finish was not just the second fastest in the race, the silver medal performance was the second fastest in Oregon girl’s high school track history.

Of course, Gallagher’s success this weekend has brought some attention to the transgender athlete. Loud boos were heard in the stadium as she crossed the finish line of both finals, most loud for her win in the 200-meter.

Various reports of heightened security around Gallagher have surfaced, including a report to Outsports from a fan in the stands.

In addition, Gallagher has been criticized for not shaking the hands of her competitors. However, it’s clear from video of the race that security quickly escorted her off the track after her win.

“There was extra security in place for that ceremony,” a fan shared with Outsports. “But it did not take away the air of blatant transphobia that was circulating around the stadium.”

Various anti-trans media outlets have also completely mischaracterized her very close 200-meter win as her “waltzing” to victory. This is completely false, as she won by 0.20 seconds.

Regardless of the naysayers, Aayden Gallagher is a state champion and she accepted her gold medal with a smile. A state title and a silver for Gallagher makes for a highly successful state championship debut, and perhaps a bright future ahead.