For the second year in a row, Mack Beggs is the Texas girls 6A wrestling champion in the 110-pound weight class.
And for the second straight year, that result brought both cheers and boos from the crowd, some of whom consider it to be unfair that a transgender boy who receives low doses of testosterone competes against girls.
But Beggs, an 18-year-old senior from Euless Trinity High, said not everything was the same this year.
"It definitely felt different," Beggs told the Dallas Morning News. "I felt a lot more humble. This year I wanted to prove a point that anyone can do anything. Even though I was put in this position, even though I didn't want to be put in this position, even though I wanted to wrestle the guys, I still had to wrestle the girls.”
In Texas, state law requires athletes to compete against other athletes who match the gender on their birth certificates. That means Beggs, whose birth name is Mackenzie, has to wrestle girls, even though he gets injections of 36 milligrams of testosterone a week. He has yet to undergo gender reassignment surgeries but hopes to begin soon.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Beggs’ testosterone injections are allowed because they are "dispensed, prescribed, delivered and administered by a medical practitioner for a valid medical purpose."
Last year, Beggs went 56-0, but that record included multiple forfeits by girls who thought it would be unfair or unsafe to wrestle against him. There was also a lawsuit seeking to prevent him from wrestling girls, but it was eventually dismissed by a county judge.
This year has been quieter in comparison. His 36-0 record includes just one forfeit, and so far there have been no lawsuits. But Beggs still has his detractors. Cypress Ranch High senior Kayla Fitts was 52-0 this season until she faced Beggs in the state semifinals. Beggs won that match 11-2.
“The strength definitely was the difference. I didn't anticipate how strong he was," Fitts told the Dallas Morning News.
"I understand if you want to transition your gender. I understand that totally. But there's a time and a place. You can do that after high school. Or if you want to do it, you can quit the sport. Because I don't think it's fair at all that you're taking testosterone. That's steroids. I know it's not a lot. But still."
Beggs said that he may have had an advantage over his competitors, but it wasn’t an unfair one.
"They're saying 'steroids.' They're saying, 'Oh, they're beating up on girls,' It just comes down to technique and who has the most heart," said Beggs, who said a small college has offered him a spot on its men’s team next season. "I put too much blood, sweat and tears, I put too much B.S. into this journey that I wanted to come out on top.
"In my heart, I am a champion. No matter who you put in front of me, I am a champion."