Male gymnast sidelined from Ossining's female team takes his fight to compete to court

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An Ossining teen sidelined from competing against girls is taking his fight to court.

Ossining High School junior Cruz Vernon is trying to change the status quo - similar to how a sophomore from Chappaqua who fought for her spot on the boys wrestling team, or a group of Hudson Valley girls who banded together to create a hockey team.

But Cruz's case is different - he's trying to keep his spot on the girls gymnastics team after the New York State Public High School Athletic Association made him an exhibition performer and took away his ability to qualify for competitions.

"It felt like all the hard work I was putting into the sport was essentially just going to waste," says Vernon.

Cruz was told he had a leg up over his female competitors.

"It's also important that they consider other factors, such as gymnastics not being a contact sport, whereas girls who compete in other male-dominated sports such as wrestling or football, they're actually touching other athletes one-on-one," says Vernon.

Vernon's attorney Paul Barger says they're calling on the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to investigate.

"There's a women's team. There's not a men's team. So his opportunity is only to participate in the women's team," says Barger.

Cruz say he worries this could hurt his chances at becoming a competitive cheerleader in college.

News 12 reached out to Section 1 of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association but did not heard back.

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