D1 Preview: Facundo Seeks to Make Champion's Climb One More Time

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 31, 2021

Helping Davison to its first Division 1 team championship since 2006 on Tuesday was just the latest of many highlights over the career of senior Alex Facundo.

And it might have been just the start of his most memorable week as part of the Cardinals program.

On Saturday at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Facundo will attempt to become the 29th wrestler (or 30th, depending on the results of Dundee’s Stoney Buell in Division 3 on Friday) to win four MHSAA Individual Finals championships. Facundo previously won at 152 pounds as a freshman, 160 as a sophomore and 171 last season, and he’ll be looking to repeat at that weight in his final Davison match.

Below we look at Facundo and nine more contenders to watch Saturday in Division 1, plus list all of the top seeds heading into the tournament, champs and runners-up back from 2020 and every wrestler who will make the trip to Kalamazoo with an undefeated record.

Even then, we surely missed a few who will end up making headlines Saturday – but make sure to come back to Second Half late that evening as we’ll interview and report on all 14 Division 1 champions.

Wrestling begins that day at 10 a.m., and this season it’s a one-day event. Spectators remain limited, but all matches will be broadcast live on MHSAA.tv. See the MHSAA Wrestling Finals page for more information and to follow results this weekend.  

119 Caden Horwath, Davison sophomore (23-0) – He’s the top seed at this weight after winning 103 last season as a freshman top seed, when he finished 43-2.

119 Louden Stradling, Battle Creek Lakeview sophomore (26-0) – The 119 bracket is loaded, and Stradling hasn’t lost again since dropping a 7-2 decision to Horwath to finish runner-up at 103 last season.

125 Andrew Hampton, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek senior (31-3) – He missed becoming Stoney Creek’s second Finals champion ever with a 7-3 loss to Dakota’s Brendan Ferretti (see below) in last year’s 119 title match, but Hampton is back as the top seed at this weight and also earned a third place at 112 as a sophomore.

130 Brendan Ferretti, Macomb Dakota senior (30-0) – The top seed at this weight will look to finish his prep career with his third-straight championship to go with last year’s at 119 and his 2019 win at 112 (and third place at 103 as a freshman.)

135 Dylan Gilcher, Detroit Catholic Central sophomore (22-1) – The top seed at this weight opened his high school career last year with a championship at 112 and 40-3 record.

140 Mason Shrader, Brighton senior (27-0) – After finishing sixth at 103 as a freshman and eighth at 119 as a sophomore, Shrader jumped up to finish runner-up last season at 125 and has earned the top seed at his weight this time.

145 Zach Johnson, Brighton senior (25-1) – He’s earned the top seed at this weight after finishing runner-up at 140 last season, fifth at 135 as a sophomore and fifth at 125 as a freshman.

160 Josh Barr, Davison sophomore (22-0) – The top seed at this weight this weekend won 152 last year also as a top seed and is a combined 61-0 over his two seasons.

171 Alex Facundo, Davison senior (22-0) – The top seed at his weight brings in a career record of 131-2 as he wrestles his final matches for Davison before going on to Penn State.

189 Manuel Rojas, Detroit Catholic Central junior (25-2) – He’s the reigning champion at this weight and enters this weekend as the second seed with a combined 71-3 record over the last two seasons.

Other 2020 runners-up: 130 Aiden Smith, Brighton junior (26-1, 112 in 2020); 145 Camden Trupp, Detroit Catholic Central senior (20-2, 135 in 2020).

Additional No. 1 seeds: 103 Justin Gates, Davison freshman (19-0); 112 Drew Heethuis, Detroit Catholic Central sophomore (26-0); 152 James Johnston, Davison senior (22-2); 189 Remy Cotton, Traverse City Central sophomore (25-0); 215 Jimmy Colley, Davison junior (15-1); 285 Jayson Roy, Jackson senior (27-0).

Also undefeated: 103 Caleb Weiand, Macomb Dakota sophomore (29-0); 112 Cole Dunn, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse senior (26-0); 130 Tyler Herrema, Grandville senior (27-0); 135 Caden Jacobs, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior (28-0), 145 Shamar Askin, St. Clair Shores Lakeview senior (20-0); 152 Vance Jackson, Birmingham Seaholm senior (16-0); 171 Avery Dickerson, Hartland junior (28-0); 215 Lu Peterson, Wyandotte Roosevelt junior (23-0); 285 Nick West, Lincoln Park senior (22-0).

PHOTO: Davison’s Alex Facundo, far right, holds up his chart after winning the 171-pound championship during last year’s Division 1 Finals at Ford Field. (Click for more from 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.)