The Elyria wrestling team will enter the season ranked No. 16 in the nation, but without two of its top wrestlers.
Elyria athletic director Heather Beck confirmed that seniors Jordan Crace and Farouq Muhammed will not wrestle for the Pioneers this season. She did not elaborate on why they were dismissed from the team.
The two still could compete this season as both attended Elyria on open enrollment and the Ohio High School Athletic Association has a one-time exemption to its transfer rule that allows athletes to compete without penalty if they transfer back to a school that lies within their home district.
KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE FILE Enlarge
Muhammed competed for two years at Shaker Heights before transferring to Elyria and sitting out the first half of last season as a junior, and Crace competed for St. Paris Graham for two-plus seasons before enrolling at Elyria last winter and sitting out the second half of the season to make himself eligible for his senior year.
CHRONICLE FILE Enlarge
Crace was arguably the Pioneers’ top talent heading into the season, as he was ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 5 in the nation at 145 pounds.
He placed third as a freshman (106 pounds) in the Division II state tournament, then won the 120-pound state championship as a sophomore. He also finished as a Walsh Jesuit Ironman finalist at 126 pounds in 2017.
After transferring to Elyria and under the tutelage of coach Erik Burnett and staff, Crace was a two-time All-American this summer -- placing sixth at the nationals in Fargo, N.D., and going 7-0 at the Junior freestyle national duals -- and placed third last month at the preseason Super 32 tournament in North Carolina.
Crace recently signed his National Letter of Intent to wrestle for Michigan State University next year.
Muhammed placed sixth at 145 pounds in the Division I state tournament as a freshman with the Red Raiders, and was a 2015 Cadet freestyle duals All-American.
Under Burnett’s direction, Muhammed placed fourth in the state at 152 pounds last season, had a third and a pair of fifth-place finishes during national Greco-Roman competition and won a Greater Cleveland Conference championship.
Muhammed recently signed his letter of intent to wrestle for Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.
- Signing day: Big day in Elyria for Pioneers and Panthers
- Wrestling: Elyria's Farouq Muhammed excels on the Greco-Roman mat in Fargo
- Wrestling: Elyria's Farouq Muhammed advances to final day at Fargo
- Wrestling: Elyria keeps rising as Mick Burnett finishes second at nationals and Jordan Crace and Colin Noel secure All-American status
- College commitment: Elyria senior Jordan Crace's strong showing at wrestling nationals pays off in Michigan State scholarship