D1 Preview: Adams' Title Streak Up Against Field of Past Champions

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 3, 2022

Rochester Adams has risen above the rest of Division 1 to win the last two Finals championships, and few would argue with the Highlanders as at least one of the favorites heading into Friday’s season-ending competition.

But the Grand Rapids Delta Plex also will welcome back the two most successful championship winners in Division 1/Class A history, plus four more teams that have finished first or second at this event over the last decade and an eighth team that came in third only two seasons ago.

Division 1 competition begins at 6 p.m. Friday. Tickets cost $10 and may be bought at the Delta Plex, and all four Finals will be broadcast live on MHSAA.tv and viewable with a subscription. More information, including the spectator seating chart, is posted at MHSAA.com.

Below is a look at all eight finalists:  

League finish: First in Saginaw Valley League.
Coach: Christina Swansey, 11th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 790.92.
Team composition: 24 total (six seniors, eight juniors, six sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: The Bobcats finished fourth last season, their fourth straight finish among the top five in Division 1, and they could make another run this weekend at a first top-two finish after coming in third in 2020. They won their District and Regional the last two weeks going over 786 points at both. Seniors Adrianna Fuller and Isabella Haber are returning all-state first teamers, senior Jackie Kloph made the second team last season and junior Nevaeh Keller earned honorable mention.

League finish: Third in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach: Julie Smith-Boyd, 41st season
Championship history: Six MHSAA titles (most recent 2015), 10 runner-up finishes.
Top score: 785.6.
Team composition: 25 total (eight seniors, two juniors, 14 sophomores, one freshman).
Outlook: Grandville returned to the Finals after a season away in 2021 and claimed its 16th top-two finish, placing second – its highest since 2016. This season’s team has posted its top two scores over its last two competitions, winning its District and finishing third at its Regional. Senior Elyse Friberg made the all-state first team last season, seniors Cece Duffy, Santana Duffy and Ashley Lam made the second, and senior Alexis Parker and sophomore Lexsee Pawloski earned honorable mentions.

League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association Gold
Coach: Candace Fahr, fifth season
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2013.
Top score: 787.16 at Regional
Team composition: 26 total (one senior, nine juniors, 12 sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Hartland missed the Finals last season but is back for the third time in four years – contending this time but also likely building for the next few with large junior and sophomore classes anchoring the roster. The Eagles have scored 782 or higher four of their last five competitions. Junior Lily Pies earned an all-District honorable mention in 2021.

League finish:
 Second in O-K Red
Coach: Andrea Crowley, fifth season
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2012.
Top score: N/A but did score 783.94 at Regional
Team composition: 29 total (12 seniors, 13 sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Hudsonville is back at the Finals for the first time since 2017, following a sizable senior class after just missing with a fifth-place Regional finish last season. The Eagles finished only 38 hundredths of a point off the lead at their District two weeks ago, also scoring better than 780 points at that meet. Seniors Jadyn Jarosch, Ava Ham and Amanda White all earned all-Regional recognition in 2021.

League finish: Third in KLAA Gold.
Coach: Samantha Koehler, seventh season
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2020.
Top score: 787.98 at District.
Team composition: 31 total (11 seniors, eight juniors, eight sophomores, four freshmen)
Outlook: Plymouth has been in the championship mix the last two seasons finishing third last year and second in 2020. The Wildcats won their District two weeks ago by nearly eight points, and their 787.16 at the Regional was their second-highest score this winter. Senior Allison Cassar is a returning two-time all-state first teamer, while Avery Maruszewski and Natalia Muzquiz Inda made the second team in 2021 and senior Hailey Tocco and junior Lexi Macyda earned honorable mentions.

League finish: Third in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Susan Wood, 41st season
Championship history: 14 MHSAA titles (most recent 2017), four runner-up finishes.
Top score: 789.9 at District
Team composition: 25 total (nine seniors, nine juniors, four sophomores, three freshmen)
Outlook: The MHSAA record holder for most Finals championships in this sport is back after a 2021 season derailed by COVID-19, and with plenty of power having nearly reached 790 points at both the District and Regional. The Falcons are made up mostly of upperclassmen and do have Finals experience on which to draw, with senior Holly McDonald an all-state second teamer and senior Isabella Olivares earning honorable mention when the team finished fifth in 2020.

League finish: First in OAA Red.
Coach: Brooke Miller, eighth season
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2021 and 2020, three runner-up finishes.
Top score: 792.16 at District.
Team composition: 25 total (nine seniors, 10 juniors, six sophomores).
Outlook: Adams has moved from a back-to-back runner-up in 2018 and 2019 to a back-to-back champion the last two seasons, clearing the field last winter by nearly eight points. And that said, they have two scores this season higher than their highest heading into Finals weekend a year ago, posting them to win District and Regional titles. Senior Gigi Schultz made the all-state first team last season, while seniors Christina Truszkowski, Sabrina Lee and Destini Dorkins made the second team and junior Emma Maynard earned an honorable mention.

League finish: Second in OAA Red.
Coach: Tricia Williams, 19th season
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2019 and 2010.
Top score: 790.30 at District.
Team composition: 21 total (nine seniors, three juniors, eight sophomores, one freshman).
Outlook: Stoney Creek returned to the Finals last season and finished eighth, and its best score this season is nearly two points better than this time a year ago. The Cougars have scored 781 or better at eight competitions and 787 or higher three of their last four. Seniors Ella DeGraw, Rachael Kim and Jenna Lanfear earned all-Regional recognition last season.

PHOTO Rochester Adams competes during Round 2 of last season’s Division 1 Finals at Breslin Center. (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 MHSAA.com

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 keithdunlap78@gmail.com 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.)