D1 Preview: One Champion Will Emerge
February 26, 2016
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Hartland, Davison and Detroit Catholic Central have taken turns against each other and as the presumed favorite in Division 1 this season.
They make up the top three seeds among another strong class of teams from Michigan's largest wrestling schools, but should be wary of at least a few others that already have surprised during this tournament run.
Below is a look at all eight teams competing in Division 1, listed by seed. Quarterfinal matches begin at 2 p.m. Friday, with Semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday and the championship match at 3:30 p.m. All matches this weekend will be streamed live on a subscription basis on MHSAA.TV. For results throughout, check the MHSAA Wrestling page.
The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard.
Record/rank: 32-1, No. 2
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West (also Lakes and overall)
Coach: Todd Cheney, 24rd season (665-97-2)
Championship history: Five MHSAA runner-up finishes (most recent 2015).
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Corey Cavanaugh (41-10) fr.; 103 Kyle Kantola (50-4) fr.; 125 Noah Lopez (43-6) sr.; 130 Garnet Potter (33-11) jr.; 135 Nick DiNobile (35-16) jr.; 140 Reece Hughes (45-4) jr.; 152 Sage Castillo (52-0) sr.; 152 Logan Vish (45-9) sr.; 171 Lucas LaForge (45-6) sr.; 189 Andrew Spisz (35-15) jr.; 285 Brandon Krol (23-3) sr.
Outlook: Will this end with Hartland’s first team championship? The Eagles have made 15 straight trips to the Quarterfinals and fell to Brighton by only six points in last season’s championship match. Hartland gave up only 34 points total in four postseason matches to return this weekend, and its only loss this season was to Detroit Catholic Central during their dual at CMU in January. Hughes, Vish and Potter all were individual placers last season and Castillo is a favorite to also contend next weekend, and they together help make up a nucleus of 11 upperclassmen that fill every weight from 125-285.
Record/rank: 22-4, No. 2
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley League
Coach: Roy Hall, 19th season (467-88-1)
Championship history: Eight MHSAA championships (most recent 2006), three runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Steven Garty (28-8) fr.; 112 Max Johnson (27-0) sr.; 119 AJ Facundo (28-9) soph.; 125 Deven Perez (35-6) sr.; 130 Ryan Schlak (24-13) jr.; 135 Brian Case (33-5) fr.; 145 Kurt Schlak (25-13) sr.; 160 Gabe Ellis (26-11) soph.; 189 Brenden McRill (34-2) jr.; 189 Logan Mabbitt (20-7) sr.; 215 Tanner Thomas (24-11) sr.
Outlook: Davison followed two straight runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2014 by falling to eventual champion Brighton by only four points in a Semifinal last season, but looks capable of taking the final step again for the first time since 2006. Facundo is the reigning champion at 112, and Johnson, Perez, McRill and Thomas all also placed last season (McRill for the second straight). Davison hasn’t given up more than 17 points to an opponent during this run, and is built for now and the future with six seniors plus six underclassmen among starters.
#3 Detroit Catholic Central
Record/rank: 15-5, No. 1
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League.
Coach: Mitch Hancock, ninth season (186-41)
Championship history: Eleven MHSAA championships (most recent 2014), two runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Benyamin Kamali (14-1) soph.; 112 Stone Moscovic (26-11) soph.; 119 Kevon Davenport (41-3) fr.; 125 Cameron Amine (34-8) fr.; 130 Aaron Rehfeldt (28-16) sr.; 140 Aidan Wagh (30-15) soph.; 171 Tyler Morland (39-1) jr.; 215 Jackson Ross (33-9) jr.; 285 Nicholas Jenkins (33-10) jr.
Outlook: The Shamrocks are seeking their fifth Division 1 championship in seven seasons and as mentioned above are the only team to beat Hartland this season. DCC has replaced a pair of strong graduating classes the last two years with a strong group of underclassmen to go with eight upperclassmen who hold down eight of the nine heaviest weights. Moreland and Jenkins were individual placers last season.
Record/rank: 24-8, No. 6
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red.
Coach: Paul McDevitt, 19th season (386-155)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2011, two runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Daltan Myers (15-1) soph.; 125 Sergio Borg (35-15) soph.; 140 Alex Hrisopoulos (44-5) sr.; 152 Devin Trevino (26-18) fr.; 215 Wyatt Harden (42-3) sr.
Outlook: The Wildcats are back at Finals weekend for the eighth time in nine seasons and as a fourth seed after competing as an eighth only a year ago. A young lineup last season is more veteran with eight upperclassmen but still five freshmen plus another four who have gained valuable experience this winter. Hrisopoulos is coming off his second-straight top-three individual finish, and Borg and Harden also were Finals qualifiers in 2015.
Record/rank: 27-5, unranked
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach: Mike Rottier, ninth season (147-108)
Championship history: Has never finished among the top two teams in Finals competition.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Kameron Kempker (28-7) soph.; 103 Jack Samuels (42-1) fr.; 130 Austin Fine (38-9) sr.; 140 Anthony Snead (24-17) sr.; 160 Brenden DeVries (34-9) sr.; 285 Lane Potter (26-19) jr.
Outlook: Hudsonville has built its best record under Rottier and is back at the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. The lineup is filled with veterans, with eight seniors, and upperclassmen at every weight from 119-285. Although the team doesn’t have any wrestlers who placed at last season’s Individual Finals, six have won at least 30 matches this winter, including both freshmen at the top of the lineup.
#6 Macomb Dakota
Record/rank: 26-12, No. 9
League finish: Second in Macomb Area Conference Red.
Coach: Ed Skowneski, fourth season (116-34)
Championship history: Has never finished among the top two teams in Finals competition.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Justin Tiburcio (48-10) fr.; 130 Tyler Sanders (52-5) soph.; 140 Layne Malczewski (50-7) soph.; 145 Dustin Solomon (34-16) fr.
Outlook: Dakota definitely is a team on the rise; the team has only one senior among 28 on the roster, starts eight sophomores and three freshmen, and beat rival and No. 8 New Baltimore Anchor Bay by a point on the way to its third Quarterfinal in four seasons. Malczewski and Sanders both placed at the Individual Finals as freshmen, and 12 wrestlers have at least 30 wins this season.
#7 Grand Ledge
Record/rank: 19-7, unranked
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference Blue.
Coach: Steve Delaney, ninth season (185-71)
Championship history: Class B runner-up 1962.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Cole Janes (44-2) jr.; 125 Jack Snauko (43-4) jr.; 140 Dylan Steward (44-1) sr.; 285 Matt Lloyd (23-3) sr.
Outlook: Grand Ledge has been the surprise of the MHSAA Tournament after knocking off reigning champion Brighton, which was ranked No. 4 entering the postseason, in their Regional Semifinal. This is the Comets’ first trip to the Quarterfinals since 2005, but Steward has championship experience as the reigning winner at 140. Lloyd also placed in 2015, and they are two of a strong group of 10 upperclassmen leading the charge.
#8 Temperance Bedford
Record/rank: 11-0, No. 10
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference.
Coach: Kevin Vogel, fifth season (114-34)
Championship history: Eleven MHSAA titles (most recent 2001), seven runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 135 Austin Teague (34-11) sr.; 152 Brad Stewart (35-6) sr.; 160 Blake Montrie (46-1) sr.; 189 Gabriel Elarton (39-7) sr.; 285 Tim Stevens (38-5) sr.
Outlook: One of the most storied programs in MHSAA history is back at the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2013, with its last championship match appearance coming during a runner-up run in 2008. Montrie is one of six seniors in the lineup and the reigning champion at 152; Stewart at Stevens also were placers last season. The Kicking Mules eliminated No. 7 Westland John Glenn on the way to CMU.
PHOTO: Detroit Catholic Central and Hartland squared off during the CMU Duals last month, with the Shamrocks coming away victorious. (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.
That 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.)