Hudson Caps Weekend of Repeats as D4 Best at Breslin

By Tom Kendra
Special for

March 27, 2021

EAST LANSING – Hudson coach Kelly Bailey has been coaching competitive cheerleading for almost a quarter of a century, and she knows it takes special kids to win back-to-back MHSAA Finals championships.

“They are not normal teenagers,” Bailey said of her team after it pulled away from rival Pewamo-Westphalia in the final round at Saturday’s Division 4 Final at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

“They are all so respectful and they listen so well. Then they just go out there and do everything that we ask them to do.”

That formula certainly did the trick as Hudson used a powerhouse Round 3 to win with a 758.98 total, giving the Tigers their second-straight championship and third in the past four years. Hudson also has runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2019 as part of an amazing five-year stretch.

Pewamo-Westphalia, which led after the first round and trailed by just over one point after two rounds, took second at 751.12 – more than 21 points better than the rest of the field.

Hudson’s win continued the theme of repeat champions at the Cheer Finals.

Even though the venue changed from the DeltaPlex in Grand Rapids to the Breslin Center, and the competition was held three weeks later than normal, and the pandemic severely altered practice and competition schedules all season long, all four 2020 champions repeated this weekend – Richmond (Division 3) and Rochester Adams (Division 1) on Friday and Allen Park (Division 2) and Hudson (Division 4) on Saturday.

2021 D4 Competitive Cheer Runner-Up - Pewamo-Westphalia

Hudson’s Kallahan Marry, a senior and returning first-team all-stater, said the win last year gave the team confidence heading into Saturday’s pivotal final round.

“We just said we’ve all done this routine a million times,” said Marry, one of six seniors for the Tigers. “So we knew we just had to go out there and do our job and kill it. Don’t regret anything.”

Other seniors for Hudson were Kaley Bloomer (returning all-state), Ahna Marry and Emma Shirey (both honorable mention all-state), and Kaite Grondin and Karlee Hinzman.

The Tigers also continued an amazing streak of 21 straight appearances at the Cheer Finals, highlighted by now three total championships and six runner-up finishes.

Bailey said Saturday’s was one of the most satisfying titles, because of the challenges with the pandemic and the fact that the team didn’t have its best stuff, but dug deep, stayed positive and got the job done.

“Everybody was real nervous all day today and a big reason is because it was a great performance by P-W,” said Bailey, who shared a long hug with veteran P-W coach Staci Myers after the awards ceremony. “We didn’t have our best score, but we did what we had to do. I’m just really proud of them.”

Pewamo-Westphalia continued another theme of the weekend – a second-place team more ecstatic about taking home the big runner-up trophy than sad about coming up just short.

On Friday, Paw Paw and Grandville both moved ahead of recent powers in their respective divisions to finish runners-up, while DeWitt used a stellar third round on Saturday morning to vault into second.

The Pirates, who have won nine cheer titles with the most recent in 2019, looked like they might notch No. 10, grabbing the lead after Round 1.

P-W performed well in the final two rounds, but Hudson just had too much in its arsenal. Hudson has 20 competitors on its roster, compared to 10 for the Pirates.

“(Hudson) crushed us by 34 points earlier this season, so I’m very proud of how we did today,” said P-W’s Ella Smith, who was joined by fellow seniors Ellie Pohl, Ella Simon, Miya Beech and Miranda Platte.

Pohl seemed to be speaking for many participants at the intense, stressful Cheer Finals, when asked how she would be celebrating her team’s big day.

“I am going to take an ice bath and then a big, long nap,” said Pohl.

Click for full team standings.

PHOTOS: (Top) Hudson competes during Saturday's Division 4 Final at Breslin Center. (Middle) Pewamo-Westphalia performs a routine on the way to a 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.)