As the debate wages on throughout the nation about whether or not transgender women should be allowed to compete in women’s sports, one transgender athlete stood in the face of protests and clinched a second-place finish in a California State Championship qualifier meet this weekend.

This week, Athena Ryan notched a second-place finish in the girls 1600m at the California State Championship qualifier meet in Dublin, California with a time of 4:55.91. With a top-three finish, Ryan earned the right to compete at the State Championships, but not everyone was happy about the news.

The Independent Council on Women’s Sports pointed out that with Ryan finishing second, senior Adeline Johnson finished fourth, missing an opportunity to advance to the state championship. Johnson gave Ryan a thumbs down at the podium as a result.

“Trans-identifying male, Athena Ryan (Jr) took 2nd today in the ‘Girls 1600m’ at a CA State Championship qualifier meet in Dublin, CA. Ryan beamed while 4th place senior, Adeline Johnson gave a thumb down after losing the chance to advance to the State Championships by 1 spot,” wrote in a tweet on Sunday morning.

As a result of her gender identity, Ryan faced protest during the event as well as quite a strong response on social media.

“I wasn’t expecting that. I dropped like 17 seconds on my season’s best in the past two weeks,” Ryan told MileSplit after the race. “After last weekend, I didn’t think I could run low 5s again. I was just coming here trying to break 5 – just glad I finished it out.”