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Chris Murphy, Published February 14 2014

Top-ranked Apple Valley Class 3A wrestler transfers to Wheaton, but will sit out today's section tournament

FARGO – Dayton Racer, a state champion wrestler at Apple Valley High School (Minn.), will not wrestle with Border West’s wrestling team today in the team section tournament, but hasn’t been completely ruled out.

Racer transferred Monday to Wheaton High School, which is part of the Border West co-op, because of claims the parents of at least one teammate were trying to get him kicked off the wrestling team due to jealousy over his rise in the rankings, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report.

Dayton’s father, David Lee Racer, told the Star Tribune that one parent, whose son wrestled for Apple Valley, has “been trying to get Dayton in trouble for years.”

David Lee told the Star Tribune on Friday that Wheaton principal Russell Armstrong told him Friday that it was “too late” for Dayton to wrestle today, but there was a possibility he could wrestle in the state tournament in the coming weeks. “He didn’t tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” said Racer. “(But) it looks like it was going to be all right to wrestle.”

That leaves it open as to whether or not Dayton would be allowed to wrestle with Border West if the Buccaneers were to make it to state as a team or if he would be able to wrestle at the individual section tournament Feb. 21-22.

Neither Armstrong nor Minnesota State High School League associate director Craig Perry would comment on Dayton’s eligibility. Phone calls to Border West wrestling coach Paul Frisch and Wheaton athletic director Tony Thiel were not returned.

Armstrong did say, as of Friday, Dayton was still enrolled at Wheaton High School and had not practiced with the wrestling team.

“I’ve been advised by people in the high school league and our lawyers that I’m not at liberty to talk about eligibility of students,” Armstrong said. “It’s a crazy deal. We’ve been dealing with all kinds of people this week on this issue.”

As a sophomore last season, Dayton won the Class 3A state title at 145 pounds and helped Apple Valley win its eighth consecutive team title. He finished second at the state tournament at 138 pounds as a freshman. This season, Dayton was undefeated and ranked No. 1 at 152 pounds in Class 3A before leaving Apple Valley.

It’s hard to ignore the trickle-down effect if Dayton was allowed to wrestle with the team or individually.

West Central Area-Ashby-Evansville coach Brandon Gruchow wasn’t wondering about his 152-pounder Royal Crow, who most likely would have been the top seed at the Class 1A, Section 6 individual tournament before Dayton came into the picture. He was thinking about the wrestler on Border West who would lose his spot.

“If he’s going to be coming on to a team that has already gone through the whole year and take one of their starter’s spots, I just don’t see their coaching staff allowing that,” Gruchow said. “Am I scared to see him wrestle against Royal? No. I just don’t see him wrestling there.”

Crow is currently the only 152-pound wrestler in Class 1A, Section 6 ranked, sitting at No. 10. He fell in the section championship match last season. The top two in each weight class at the individual section tournament qualify for the state tournament, which calls into question the wrestler that could finish third if Dayton was allowed to wrestle.

“It’s unfair, but it’s more unfair to the kid (Border West) has at 152 pounds,” Gruchow said. “That kid would have been the 2 or 3 seed. I just don’t see their coaches doing that. That’s really going to mess up the chemistry of the team.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548