D4 Preview: Brackets Full of Stories to Be Told

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 1, 2021

Clinton, Hudson and New Lothrop have dominated Division 4 wrestling’s team tournament over the last eight seasons – only those three have appeared in a championship match since 2014, including Clinton’s win over the Hornets in Tuesday’s Final.

But Saturday’s Individual Wrestling Finals at Van Andel Arena could see many more schools in the title mix.

Clinton has five top seeds, and New Lothrop and Hudson have two apiece. But total eight schools have No. 1-seeded wrestlers among the 14 weights – with favorites from Bark River-Harris, Iron Mountain, Rudyard and Vermontville Maple Valley representing their schools’ best chances at claiming a first title.

Below we look at 10 contenders to watch, 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 Grand Rapids 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 4 champions.

Wrestling begins Saturday 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.  

103 Bradley Hall, Rudyard senior (16-0) – The top seed at 103, Hall finished fourth at the same weight last season and will be competing to cap his career as the first Finals champion in Rudyard history.

119 Shawn McGuire, Iron Mountain sophomore (29-1) – The top seed at this weight is a combined 70-3 over his first two high school seasons and finished runner-up at 112 a year ago.

125 Manus Bennett, Marlette sophomore (20-2) – He’ll wrestle for a second individual title in his second try after winning the 103 championship last season.

130 Bronson Marry, Hudson junior (22-0) – The top seed at this weight is going for a second-straight title after winning 112 last year and also finishing runner-up at 103 as a freshman.

145 Caden Natale, Hudson senior (23-1) – Natale has risen from third at 103 as a freshman to second at 119 as a sophomore to winning 130 last year and returning to the Finals as a top seed this weekend.

152 Bryce Cheney, New Lothrop senior (20-0) – The runner-up at this weight last winter is back as the top seed this weekend and carrying a combined 53-4 record over the last two seasons.

171 Trenton Holden, Grass Lake senior (23-1) – He had only one loss last season on the way to finishing 46-1 and claiming the 160-pound championship, and his only defeat this winter was at the Individual Regional to this weekend’s top-seeded Brayden Randolph of Clinton (see below).

171 Brayden Randolph, Clinton senior (27-1) – He’s the top seed at this weight after finishing runner-up at 171 last season, and he’s looking to add a first title also to a runner-up finish at 160 as a sophomore and third place at that weight as a freshman.

189 Logan Badge, Clinton junior (27-1) – The top-seeded Badge went over 100 career wins (he’s 101-5 overall) during Tuesday’s run to the team championship and he’s looking to add a third individual title to those he won at 215 as a freshman and 189 last year.

215 Camden Orr, New Lothrop senior (21-1) – He’s the second seed at this weight but the reigning champion, and his only loss was a forfeit in the Regional Final. He also finished sixth at 189 as a sophomore and quarterbacked the football team to the Division 7 title in January.

Other 2020 runners-up: 140 Andrew Krupp, New Lothrop senior (19-2, 125 in 2020); 145 Kent McCombs, Clinton junior (26-2, 145 in 2020).

Additional No. 1 seeds: 112 Matthew Slaght, Vermontville Maple Valley junior (33-0); 125 Nik Shadley, Clinton freshman (25-1); 135 Dillon Raab, Bark River-Harris sophomore (30-1); 140 George Ames, Clinton junior (24-0); 160 Spencer Konz, Clinton senior (22-3); 215 Caden Ferris, Delton Kellogg junior (29-2); 285 Isiah Pasik, New Lothrop junior (21-0).

Also undefeated: 125 Randy Frailey, Hanover-Horton senior (25-0); 130 Zach Ouillette, Oscoda senior (27-0); 145 Parker Stroud, Iron Mountain junior (21-0); 145 Carsen Young, Martin senior (28-0); 171 Cole Hopkins, Evart sophomore (19-0); 189 Trent Hocter, Hanover-Horton senior (16-0).

PHOTO: Hudson’s Bronson Marry, left, and Iron Mountain’s Shawn McGuire lock up during last season’s Division 4 Final at 112 pounds. Both carry top seeds into this weekend. (Click for more from 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 [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.)