D2 Preview: On the Cusp of History

February 27, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

A year ago, Fowlerville's Adam Coon shared The Palace of Auburn Hills spotlight with the latest wrestler to win four MHSAA individual championships, St. Johns' Taylor Massa. 

This weekend, Coon will attempt to become the 17th to accomplish that historical feat. 

See below for 10 contenders to watch this weekend, plus others who enter the tournament undefeated or coming off runner-up finishes in 2012. Follow all the matches beginning with Thursday's first round 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. 

10 to watch

285: Adam Coon, Fowlerville senior – Attempting to becom the 17th in MHSAA wrestling history to win four individual titles, and is the favorite entering 51-0.

125: Zac Hall, St. Johns junior – Trying to add a third individual championship after winning 112 last season and 103 in 2011, and is 44-0 after last weekend’s Team Finals.

130: Jacob Schmitt, St. Johns senior – Going for his fourth championship match appearance after winning 103 in 2010, 125 last season and finishing runner-up at 112 in 2011; enters 47-0 this winter.

135: Anthony Gonzales, Holly senior – Looking for his third championship after winning 130 last season and 112 in 2010; comes into the weekend 50-3.  

140: Kyle Simaz, Allegan junior – Going for his first championship after finishing runner-up at 130 last season and at 119 in 2011; enters 57-1.

145: Ben Whitford, St. Johns senior – Comes in 33-0 and looking to add a second-straight championship after winning 140 last season.

152: Josh Pennell, St. Johns senior – Looking to finish his final season undefeated (he’s 36-0 coming in to this weekend) and with his first championship after finishing runner-up at 119 in 2010.

152: Kenny Cross, Hastings senior – Striving to finish strong in his first Individual Finals appearance and with a 49-0 record coming into the weekend.

171: Brett Dempsey, Mattawan senior – Just missed last season’s championship match at this weight, finishing third, and enters this weekend 52-0.

215: Brian Moran, Fowlerville senior – After finishing fourth at last season’s Finals, looking to graduate with a title and perfect season after entering this weekend 52-0.

Also undefeated: Chelsea junior Steve Bleise (135, 42-0), New Boston Huron sophomore Logan Ritchie (160, 52-0), Chelsea senior Mike Hovater (189, 39-0), Lowell junior Garett Stehley (189, 27-0), Lowell senior Taylor Kornoely (215, 33-0).

Other returning runners-up: Hamilton senior Collin Welcher (119, 46-2, 103 in 2012), Lapeer West senior Dean Somers (119, 43-1, 112 in 2012), St. Johns sophomore Logan Massa (135, 38-2, 119 in 2012), Holly senior Mason Cleaver (135, 50-2, 125 in 2012), St. Johns senior Payne Hayden (189, 41-1, 215 in 2012).

PHOTO: Fowlerville's Adam Coon (far left) stands at the top of awards podium after claiming a Division 2 championship last season. (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.)