Adams Leans on Finals Experience in Claiming 3rd-Straight Championship

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

March 4, 2022

GRAND RAPIDS – The Rochester Adams competitive cheer team had a veteran group of athletes who had been there, and done that.

The nine seniors departed the program on top by bringing home one last championship.

The Highlanders captured the Division 1 Final on Friday at the Delta Plex after a highly-competitive run at the title among all eight teams.

The margin of separation between them was less than nine points, but it was Rochester Adams emerging victorious as the Highlanders completed a rare three-peat.

“It just takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but there were 16 girls who have been here since the beginning of our first state title and they've just learned the ropes and they know what it takes,” Adams coach Brooke Miller said. “They just put their whole heart and soul out there today, and it really paid off.”

The Highlanders finished with a three-round total of 793.74 to edge runner-up and 2019 champion Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (791.36).

“I can't put it into words because everything has been leading up to this moment, and we've gotten so close together,” said senior Sabrina Lee, who’s been on varsity all four years.

“It just really means everything to ourselves, this third one, and we just really needed to prove it to ourselves and we finally did. I’m proud of what we put on that mat.”

The two-time reigning champions staked their claim early and snared the lead with their best Round 1 of the season.

“Round 1 was our peak, and we absolutely nailed it,” Miller said. 

They followed with another top score in Round 2 (232.94) before entering the third round with a mere one-point lead over Rochester.

“Another great Round 2, and then we felt like we were ready to hit Round 3,” Miller said. “We had a couple of things that weren’t our absolute best, but we were so proud of ourselves for that.

Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer“We had four girls who have been here all four years and some three years, and that leadership and experience were just absolutely valuable to our success today.”

Rochester Adams became the third school in Division 1 history to win three consecutive Finals titles, joining Rochester (which has done so multiple times) and Southgate Anderson.

“This has been a dream come true for us and only a few teams have ever done a three-peat,” senior Elizabeth Doran said. “To do it with my best friends and to make history for our school and to be a part of these teams has been incredible. I’m so sad to leave all of this.”

Stoney Creek secured its highest finish since winning its first championship in 2019.

“It’s a great honor,” Cougars coach Tricia Williams said. “There are a lot of great teams in our state and eight phenomenal teams here today. We just came out and wanted to put our three best rounds on the mat, and I think we did that. Coming out as runner-up feels fantastic.”

The Cougars jumped into second spot courtesy of a flawless third round effort. They tallied the highest Round 3 score of the night with an impressive 321.90.

“All the rounds were important, but we wanted to hit the third round and make sure we felt that feeling of being a team on that mat,” Williams said. “They were on fire, and there was not one deduction in that round. They hit it amazingly well, and I think our score showed that.”

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PHOTOS (Top) Rochester Adams competes on the way to winning its third-straight Division 1 title Friday at the Delta Plex. (Middle) Rochester Hills Stoney Creek celebrates its runner-up finish. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

Bragging Rights for Both as Multi-Sport Sage Twins Shine at Ford Field

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

March 10, 2023

SOUTHGATE – The question of “Which child is your favorite?” is impossible for any parent to answer, but Shawn Sage has an additional question that’s impossible to answer regarding his son Jackson and daughter Brooklyn.

Greater DetroitThat question is, “Who would win a wrestling match between the two?”

“They are both raising their hands right now smiling about it,” Shawn Sage said with a laugh during a phone conversation.

It’s a good-natured question anybody can pose to Shawn Sage, given his son and daughter are not only twins by birth, but in wrestling achievements as sophomores at Southgate Anderson.

Last weekend at Ford Field, Jackson Sage competed in his second Individual Finals, where he finished fourth in Division 2 in the 157-pound weight class.

It was an improvement from last year’s event, when he qualified as a freshman but didn’t place.

“I was more used to it,” Jackson Sage said. “Last year was a different experience being at Ford Field the first time.”

Brooklyn Sage qualified for the Individual Finals this season as well, where she finished sixth in the Girls Division 155-pound weight class.

The winter was busy for both, but especially for Brooklyn. In addition to competing in wrestling, she was also a member of the school’s competitive cheer team.

“I knew that it would be a commitment,” she said. “But I was up for it. I was at the school for about 14 hours a day, but it was worth it at the end.”

Jackson and Brooklyn are each three-sport athletes. Jackson is the quarterback on the football team in the fall and a member of the track team (he competes in 300 hurdles and two relays) in the spring, while Brooklyn plays softball.

But it’s wrestling where the two share their greatest bond athletically.

Jackson started getting involved in the sport when was around elementary school age, and Brooklyn would tag along to practices.

Along the way, she became intrigued enough to try wrestling herself.

“I liked being able to know that I could defend myself and take care of myself in different ways,” she said. “To be able to stand up for myself.”

Brooklyn said she stopped wrestling competitively around sixth grade because there weren’t opportunities for girls to compete only against each other, but that changed when a girls-only division was added to the MHSAA Tournament with the 2021-22 season.

With both able to compete in high school, at-home workouts intensified. The two regularly train against each other on a mat in their basement, where technique is honed and toughness is sharpened.

“She pushes me a lot,” Jackson said.

Both also learn from each other’s experiences.

“I feel like watching him made me more motivated to do it,” Brooklyn said. “He’s taught me a lot of technique that I wouldn’t have known from his past experiences and coach.”

Added Jackson: “I’ve learned from her matches.”

This week has actually presented a rarity for both in that they’ve had time off.

With wrestling ending and spring sports not officially opening practice until Monday, the two haven’t had practices and competitions.

That’ll change next week when they go their separate ways with Jackson to track practice and Brooklyn joining the softball squad, and they’ll focus on those sports for the rest of the school year.

But with two more years of eligibility left and all-state finishes in wrestling already, the sky is the limit for the next two years in that sport for both.

With that in mind, the questions to Dad about who would win a match are likely only getting started.

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties

PHOTO Southgate Anderson twins Brooklyn, left, and Jackson Sage both placed at this season’s Wrestling Individual Finals. (Photo courtesy of the Sage family.)