Cheer Finals: Favorites, Now Winners

March 4, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS – The MHSAA Division 2 Competitive Cheer Final came down Saturday to the top two ranked teams at the end of the regular season.

Gibraltar Carlson can almost claim a permanent home in the top spot.

No. 2 Dearborn Divine Child put on the pressure at the Grand Rapids Delta Plex. But the Marauders tied Divine Child with the meet’s highest Round 3 score to hold on to a 2.9 point advantage and claim their fourth championship in five seasons with a final score of 807.3944.

“It was absolutely mind-blowing,” Carlson senior Paige Arrington said.

“Our team is so close. We’re more of a family. We’re with each other nine months of the year through sideline and competitive, and they’re my sisters and my family. I have 24 sisters and a couple of moms with my coaches.”

Those coaches – Christina Wilson and Danielle Jokela – had to guide the Marauders through their toughest championship run since 2008 (not counting 2010, when Carlson finished runner-up to Allen Park.

The Marauders scored the meet’s top Round 1 and 2 scores, but still had to hang in for that Round 3 tie.
“It was not easy for us to come out on top today. We had to fight it out,” Wilson said.

Jokela added, “We have nine seniors who really contributed to making this come true.”

Division 3

Richmond began this season as a continuation of last, when the Blue Devils courageously finished Division 3 runner-up despite losing an athlete to a torn knee ligament five minutes into Finals warm-up.

Top-ranked all season, the Devils succeeded in not starting over – complete with prepping in the same Delta Plex locker room Saturday as in 2011 and warming up on the same mat where their teammate was injured.

“Last year when one of our girls was injured, we fell back a little in the third round and that’s why we came in second,” Richmond senior Alana Timmerman said. “But this year we conquered our fears and took over. … We’re really a superstitious team, but we had to face that.”

No problem. Richmond posted the top Division 3 score in all three rounds to claim its first MHSAA title with a score of 781.838 – 16 points better than runner-up and reigning champion Comstock Park.

“Third, third, second, first. What more could you ask for?” said senior Kelsey Kasom, listing off the Devils’ Final finishes of the last four seasons. “We’ve pretty much taken everything, gone through every single thing a team doesn’t want to go through and need to go through to get where we are.”

“All year, we’ve been doing our best to critique the little things. We’ve been working on every little step,” senior Melissa Graham added. “We came into this year and said we were going to start off where we left off last year. So we weren’t coming in with a new team and a new mindset. We wanted to start where our skills were last year and work to get better.”

Division 4

Michigan Center senior Michaela Haller spoke Saturday of a rough patch her team went through when she was a sophomore in 2010 – the season the Cardinals took only third place at the MHSAA Finals.

But compared to how her team fared her other three seasons, that sentiment is understandable.

Haller and eight other seniors capped off an incredible run by claiming their third Division 4 championship in four seasons, this time with a score of 759.944 to finish four points ahead of rival Pewamo-Westphalia. The two finished 1-2 at the District and Regional as well.

“I never dreamed my freshman year, or even after we won freshman year, that we’d do it two more times or that I’d leave being a state champion,” Haller said. “We went through a rough patch sophomore year, and after that my team just grew. Since then, every day we just get stronger.

“I feel like we definitely worked our way to where we are.”

Michigan Center finished second to Pewamo-Westphalia in both Rounds 1 and 3. But the Cardinals bested the Pirates by eight points in Round 2 to set up a cushion that held to the end.

“I knew they had it in them. … They’re poised, composed, and the experience definitely helps because they’ve been here, know what to expect and know how to get the job done,” Michigan Center coach Jessica Trefry said.

“I have some underclassmen that have stepped up already into leadership positions, are already grooming themselves to be in that position for next year. I really am not worried about leadership; I know it’s going to be there next year.”

Click for full results for all four Finals, and for coverage of Friday’s Division 1 meet.

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.)