more media outlets will be chiming in by the end of the cross country season.
Stark-Chessa competed in cross country in Maine last season as a freshman boy but is competing this fall in the girls classes of meets. With the Maine XC Festival of Champions, the state's biggest regular-season invitational, on Saturday's calendar, plenty of eyes that usually focus on football or soccer will be scouring cross country results.
Stark-Chessa will be running in the seeded section with the projected sixth-fastest time, setting the stage for a potential podium finish or even a victory that would undoubtedly generate a tidal wave of fresh media attention.
Stark-Chessa attends the private Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport and won a recent five-kilometer race by 1:42 after faring no better than 14th in races against boys in 2022.
Both the school and the teen are on form ground, at least for now. The Maine Principals Association handbook includes a "Gender Equity and Inclusion Policy" stating "all students should have the opportunity to participate in MPA activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, unless such participation would result in an unfair athletic advantage or would present an unacceptable risk of injury to other student athletes.”
If Stark-Chessa consistently runs near the front of the pack, the MPA may be forced into a determination that the unfair athletic advantage exists, which will make the situation an even bigger story.
A weak 'no harm intended' claim: An Ohio high school football coach says he intended no harm after he and his team repeatedly used "Nazi" as a play call in a Sept. 22 game against a school based in a largely Jewish Cleveland suburb.
Brooklyn High coach Tim McFarland said he never meant any offense by using the term and that it "didn't even occur" to him that it could be taken as antisemitic. McFarland, 70, who has been coaching for 43 years, said he offered to personally apologize to Beachwood players but was instead forced to resign by Brooklyn High administrators.
Peter Pattakos, McFarland's lawyer, told The Associated Press an Ohio coaching book from the 1990s, cites "Nazi" as a heads-up for an impending blitz. Unswayed, district Superintendent Robert Hardis and the school board issued a statement saying the coach was demonstrating "further ignorance" and "succeeds in taking a terrible situation and making it worse."
Ohio High School Athletic Association officials issued a statement saying "offensive language has no place in sports at any level."