Huskies Seniors Finish What They Restarted

March 5, 2016

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for Second Half

GRAND RAPIDS – Breckenridge’s Dakota Colthorp was part of a group of wide-eyed and enthusiastic fifth graders who wanted to be involved in competitive cheer.

At the time, the high school didn’t have a team due to low numbers.

Seven years later, Colthorp and her elementary school classmates have become instrumental in helping restore the program to the dominant level it had been accustomed to in the 2000s.

Breckenridge captured its second straight MHSAA Division 4 Final on Saturday at The DeltaPlex.

The Huskies notched high scores in each round to tally a 767.68 and best runner-up Michigan Center (754.12).

“It’s incredibly special for us,” Colthorp said. “We didn’t have a team for awhile, and our group of seniors are the ones who brought it back. We started in fifth grade and have not left since. The seven of us went through middle school with this program and we helped rebuild it to where it is today. It’s incredible to say that we are back-to-back state champions.”

The senior class also included Kaitlyn Corson, Paige Guthrie, Alicia Gutierrez, Katie Mortensen, Justine Brabaw and Lindsey Reichard.

"It's very special because we've wanted this for a long time," Guthrie said. "We've had family members who have won before, and we wanted to do the same. My cousins cheered in 2007."

The seniors were motivated to end their high school careers with another top finish.

“For the seven of us, it’s the last time being able to do that,” Colthorp said. “So we made sure to give it our all and leave it all out on the mat. It might not have been perfect in the warm-up room, but we came together and gave it our best on the mat.

“We put in a lot of hard work in and it was very rewarding to be here and be able to bring home the trophy.”

The Huskies repeated for the first time since 2007, the last time they won an MHSAA Division 4 championship.

They won six Class C/D titles during a span of seven seasons from 2000-2006.

Breckenridge coach Deb Gaines recruited the seniors from that fifth-grade class.

“They were very committed and dedicated,” Gaines said. “They were key to our program coming back, and others followed. I think some of them had perfect attendance through the years. There were very few absences.”

Huskies co-coach Jenna Graham said the seniors have always been there to lend support.

“We’ve relied on them for motivation on and off the mat,” she said. “They’ve really tried to step up and be the leaders we needed this year. They’ve been here so long that we just expected that out of them and stepped up to it.”

It was a different environment this season for Breckenridge than the last time they were here. The Huskies were now the team everyone was chasing.

“They were just here to do their thing last year, no pressure,” Graham said. “But this year was different. We had to defend that title. Defend and repeat has been our motto all season.”

Added Gaines: “It’s hard to repeat in anything. We just had to keep stepping up our game and going for it. Rounds 1 and 2 were exceptionally strong, and in Round 3 they just delivered.”

Round 3 did have early drama for the Huskies. They had a nearly seven-point cushion entering the final round; however, an early fall tested their resolve.

“We were hoping to have that lead so there was a little room for error,” Graham said. “We trained them how to deal with that when it happens.”

“Anything can happen out there,” Gaines said. “It’s all about how you recover and how you fight back harder.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Breckenridge dominated the first two rounds Saturday to repeat as Division 4 champion. (Middle) Michigan Center improved one spot from 2015 to finish runner-up.

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.)