D1 Preview: Champs Close Careers

February 26, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Winners of a combined nine MHSAA Division 1 individual wrestling championships will graduate this spring.

But that group can add six more to their collective total at this weekend’s Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

See below for 10 contenders to watch this weekend, plus others who enter the tournament undefeated or coming off runner-up finishes in 2013. Follow all the matches beginning with Thursday's first round on a subscription basis live on MHSAA.TV, and click here for results at MHSAA.com. And check back with Second Half later Saturday night for full coverage from the Finals, including comments from all 14 champions.

112: Benny Gomez, Holt junior (47-1) – Cruised through his sophomore season undefeated at 47-0 and won the 103-pound title, and is back as the favorite one class heavier and with only one loss.

125: Lincoln Olson, Davison junior (41-1) – Going for a third MHSAA title after winning 103 as a freshman and 112 as a sophomore; brings a 133-3 career record into the weekend.

135: Austin Eicher, Hartland senior (35-1) – Defeated teammate Jacob Gorial to win last season’s championship at 130 and looking good to make it two straight titles with a combined record of 87-2 over the last two seasons.

140: Justin Oliver, Davison senior (43-1) – Finished only third at 135 last season after winning titles at 112 and 119 his first two of high school, respectively; he has lost only five times during his career.

145: Malik Amine, Detroit Catholic Central senior (30-3) – Finished fifth, second, and then first, at 140, his first three seasons, respectively, and also has been a key contributor to three straight DCC team champions.

171: Jordan Cooks, Davison senior (38-3) – Claimed the championship at 160 the last two seasons after finishing third at 145 as a freshman; can go over 40 wins for the third season of his varsity career.

171: Drew Garcia, Detroit Catholic Central senior – Looking to finish his career with four championship match berths and three straight individual titles after winning this weight in 2013; beat Cooks 3-1 in overtime in Saturday’s Team Final.

189: Shwan Shadaia, Rochester senior (40-3) – Took a couple more losses than during last season’s championship run, but can finish in a similarly dominating way after making the jump from seventh place to first as a junior.

215: Jordon Brandon, Westland John Glenn senior (50-2) – Returns seeking to finish his career with a championship after falling just shy in the 2013 Final at 215, a 5-4 overtime loss.

285: Parker Tillman, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior (42-0) – Three-time MHSAA qualifier lost a tough championship match 3-0 last season but hasn't fallen since; he’s 83-4 over his final two seasons so far.

Other 2013 runners-up: Farmington Hills Harrison junior Michael Volyanyuk (112, 37-6, 103 in 2013), Martin Rodriguez, Holt senior (119, 42-1, 125 in 2013), Davison senior Matthew Miller (135, 33-7), Hartland junior Jacob Gorial (145, 54-1, 130 in 2013), Livonia Franklin senior Jordan Atienza (160, 60-1, 152 in 2013).

Also undefeated: Birmingham Brother Rice senior Shon Powell (171, 13-0), Grand Haven senior Dakota Juarez (160, 38-0), Detroit Catholic Central senior Nick Bennett (152, 39-0), Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior Parker Tillman (42-0, 285), West Bloomfield senior Ross Bahro (130, 48-0), Canton senior Alec Pantaleo (145, 49-0), Ypsilanti Lincoln senior Jordan Markey (135, 54-0).

More of note: Walled Lake Central freshman Ben Freeman (103, 39-1), Detroit Catholic Central junior Trevor Zdebski (119, 23-2), Ypsilanti senior Kyle Abdellatif (130, 52-2), Brownstown Woodhaven senior Derek Hillman (189, 46-2).

PHOTO: Davison’s Justin Oliver celebrates his win during Saturday’s Division 1 Team Final. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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 [email protected] 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.)