D3 Final: Richmond Gets Richer

February 25, 2012

BATTLE CREEK – Nick Burg stepped on the mat for the biggest match of his life Saturday. He was shaking.

The state’s biggest wrestling stage wasn’t lost on the Richmond sophomore. Nor the fact his team was losing by a point and only two matches from seeing its two-year MHSAA championship streak broken.

“That’s what I’ve been training for my whole life. … I was a little nervous. I’m not going to lie,” Burg said. “I just knew I had to go out there and win. That’s what they said. We need you to win. Bonus points are extra.

"But first, get the win.”

He accomplished both – and in doing so set in motion the final touches of a 34-23 win over Dundee that continued Richmond’s dominance of Division 3 with a third straight title.

In what ended up the last to be decided of Saturday’s Finals at Kellogg Arena, No. 2-seeded Dundee won six of seven bouts through the middle of the match to take a 23-18 lead with three weights remaining.

Top-seeded Richmond’s chances still looked good. The Blue Devils (29-5) finished with three Individual Finals qualifiers against three Dundee wrestlers who will not compete next week at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

But freshman Austin Vannatter, Burg and senior Stephen Ireland still had to come through.

Vannatter pulled the Blue Devils within a point with a major decision in 112. And Burg then got back the lead with a pin in 1 minute, 28 seconds. Ireland merely needed to avoid a pin or technical fall, but finished with a pin himself. 

“These kids have all been together since sixth grade, and they’re just gritty and tough,” Richmond co-coach Brandon Day said. “A lot of our state titles have been like this, 11 points or less, because the kids just fight for each other.

“Dundee’s a great program. They’re awesome, and Tim Roberts is a great coach. That’s why this isn’t the last time this is going to happen. They’ll be back, and we’ll be back.”

Dundee finished 17-8. Since winning its most recent MHSAA championship in 2007, the Vikings have finished runners-up four of the last five seasons.

Click for match-by-match results from the Final, Semifinals and Quarterfinals. See more photos at High School Sports Scene.  

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 keithdunlap78@gmail.com 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.)