D2 Preview: The Champs are Here

March 4, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Eight wrestlers who have won a combined 12 MHSAA individual championships will take the mat during this weekend’s Individual Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Among the many finishing high school careers are two hoping to do so with third high school titles – Clio’s Mason Smith and St. Johns’ Logan Massa.

See below for 10 contenders to watch this weekend, plus others who enter the tournament undefeated or coming off runner-up finishes in 2014. 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.

Those listed below are only a handful of the numerous contenders for this weekend’s Division 2 championships. Come back to Second Half at the end of this weekend, when we’ll have post-match thoughts from all 14 title winners.

112: Dominic LaJoie, Gaylord sophomore (33-2) – LaJoie is 83-2 over his first two seasons after winning the championship at 103 last season, and he helped his team to the MHSAA Semifinals last weekend in Battle Creek.

119: Lucas Hall, Lowell junior (35-1) – Although his undefeated streak came to an end – Hall was perfect in winning 112 last winter – he’s 112-8 over three seasons and that lone 2013-14 loss came to two-time Division 3 champ Devin Schroder of Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

135: Mason Smith, Clio senior (44-0) – Smith hasn’t lost since his freshman season, claiming titles at 112 and 119 pounds and building a career record of 203-6; he also finished fourth at 103 as a freshman.

140: Austin Thompson, Marysville senior (46-1) – This weight class is loaded and Thompson might be the favorite after winning 130 last season; his only loss this winter came to GRCC two-time champ Nate Limmex.  

140: Austin Melton, DeWitt junior (38-4) – He’s another reigning champion wrestling this weekend at 140, having claimed the title at 135 last season after also making the MHSAA Finals at that weight as a freshman.

140: Noah Hanau, Stevensville Lakeshore senior (49-0, 140) – The lone undefeated wrestler at 140 has qualified for four MHSAA Finals and placed fourth at 130 pounds as a sophomore before finishing just outside the top eight last season at 135.

152: Connor Myers, St. Joseph senior (26-0) – The Bears’ standout has been building toward this final run with third-place finishes at this weight both of the last two seasons.

160: Logan Ritchie, New Boston Huron senior (54-1) – This is Ritchie’s third season at this weight; he finished fourth as a sophomore before winning the title last year, and also finished sixth at 145 as a freshman.

171: Logan Massa, St. Johns senior (33-0) – Only an overtime Finals loss to Ada Forest Hills Eastern standout Tim Lambert in 2012 is keeping Massa from wrestling for a fourth title this weekend – he won at 135 as a sophomore and 152 as a junior and hasn’t lost since his first season.

215: Josh Colegrove, Lowell senior (36-0) – The reigning champion at this weight has only one loss over the last two seasons and also finished third at this weight as a freshman.

Other 2014 runners-up: Ortonville-Brandon junior Bryan LaVearn (125, 40-2, 112 in 2014), Flint Kearsley senior Jakob Chapman (119, 44-3, 119 in 2014), Eaton Rapids senior Jaeden Sklapsky (135, 52-2, 130 in 2014).

Also undefeated: Stevensville Lakeshore freshman Austin Franco (46-0, 112), Farmington Hills Harrison senior Michael Volyanyuk (42-0, 119), Hastings senior Jason Slaughter (49-0, 152), Warren Lincoln sophomore Jelani Embree (41-0, 171), Dearborn Heights Annapolis senior Diallo Matsimela (50-0, 189).

More of note: Ionia sophomore Cameron Mahlich (35-2, 103), St. Johns junior Ian Parker (35-2, 125), Lowell junior Zeth Dean (34-3, 130), Riverview junior Brandon Garcia (52-3, 145), St. Johns senior Ty Wildmo (36-3, 189), Greenville senior Cole Antcliff (45-1, 285).

PHOTO: Clio’s Mason Smith grapples toward his second MHSAA championship at last season’s Individual Finals. (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.)