D4 Preview: Seeds Shuffle Contenders
February 21, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Hudson and New Lothrop have met in the Division 4 Wrestling Final five straight seasons, and one of those two teams has won the championship in this division a decade running.
But if seeds are correct this weekend, there will be some significant shake-up come Saturday afternoon at Kalamazoo's Wings Event Center.
Hudson and New Lothrop are seeded third and fourth, respectively, with Clinton seeking its first MHSAA wrestling title as the favorite and Carson City-Crystal hoping to achieve the same as the second seed.
Below is a look at all eight teams competing in Division 4, listed by seed. Quarterfinal matches begin at noon Friday, with Semifinals at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and the championship match that afternoon at 3:45 p.m. All matches this weekend will be viewable live on a subscription basis on MHSAA.tv. For Friday’s schedule and results throughout, check the MHSAA Wrestling page.
Record/rank: 28-4, No. 3
League finish: First in Tri-County Conference
Co-coaches: Jeff Rolland, sixth season (162-42); Casey Randolph, first season (28-4)
Championship history: Has not appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Brandon Beach (27-12) sr., 119 AJ Baxter (44-6) soph., 125 Christian Minard (33-13) sr., 125 Noah Comar (47-1) sr., 130 George Ames (33-9) fr., 135 Spencer Konz (39-8) soph., 140 Kent McCombs (30-8) fr.,145 Riley Jeffrey (37-8) sr., 152 Jeffrey Konz (35-11) sr., 160 Brayden Randolph (40-1) soph., 171 Cecil Rafferty (36-12) sr., 215 Logan Badge (31-2) fr., 285 Will Felts (27-13) soph.
Outlook: Clinton will wrestle in the Quarterfinals for the fourth time in six seasons, and just missed its first championship match last year falling to New Lothrop in the Semifinals after entering the tournament as the second seed. Seniors fill half the weights, with underclassmen the other half. Comar has wrestled in three Individual Finals championship matches, winning a title in 2017, and Baxter – one of those underclassmen – also was an individual runner-up last season. Jeffrey and Randolph also were placers in 2018.
#2 Carson City-Crystal
Record/rank: 39-2, No. 4
League finish: First in Central Michigan Athletic Conference
Coach: Kacy Datema, ninth season (234-69)
Championship history: Division 4 runner-up in 2000 and 2001.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Nolan Datema (42-1) sr., 125 Jaron Johnson (40-5) soph., 130 Jamison Ward (44-1) jr., 135 Daryn Shepler (36-7) sr., 140 Aiden Adkins (32-14) sr., 152 Caleb Collins (45-3) sr., 160 Braxton Seida (39-2) sr., 171 Nash Akin (33-13) jr., 189 Daniel Smith (43-2) sr., 215 Brian Yeakey (40-4) jr.
Outlook: Carson City-Crystal also has been edging up, moving to the second seed this year after entering last year’s Finals as a third seed and falling to New Lothrop in the Quarterfinals. This will be the Eagles’ fifth Finals weekend in seven seasons, and they got here in part by beating No. 6 Hart in the Regional Final. Ward and Seida were individual runners-up in 2017, and they were joined by Smith, Yeakey, Shepler, Adkins and Nolan Datema among placers.
Record/rank: 17-7, No. 1
League finish: Second in Lenawee County Athletic Association
Coach: Scott Marry, 31st season (789-187)
Championship history: Seven MHSAA championships (most recent 2018), three runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Bronson Marry (30-8) fr., 103 Payton Rogers (26-8) fr., 119 Caden Natale (23-4) soph., 125 CJ Berro (24-18) soph., 135 Jordan Hamdan (41-0) sr., 145 Dylan Smith (33-8) soph., 152 Jorge Sereno (32-11) sr., 171 John Betz (24-10) sr., 189 Kyle Moll (32-10) jr.
Outlook: Hudson won its second straight title and seventh over the last decade last season, and is returning after convincing wins over No. 7 Mendon and No. 9 Bronson at the Regional. Hamdan will wrestle next month for a fourth MHSAA individual championship, and Sereno, Natale and senior Carson Price also were Finals placers last year – Price returned last week after missing two months to win a match against Mendon. Senior Tucker Sholl – an individual champion in 2016 and runner-up in 2017 – also is back, returning two weeks ago after missing nearly a month of competition. It’s also important to note again that although Hudson finished runner-up in its league, that second place came to Division 3 top seed Dundee.
#4 New Lothrop
Record/rank: 23-7, No. 2
League finish: First in Mid-Michigan Activities Conference
Coach: Jeff Campbell, 18th season (456-90)
Championship history: 15 MHSAA championships (most recent 2016), six runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Andrew Krupp (25-18) soph., 119 Alex Wolford (28-9) fr., 135 Logan Zell (32-12) sr., 140 Micah Poletti (31-16) sr., 145 Austin Wolford (32-3) sr., 171 Justin Carnahan (32-5) jr., 189 Camden Orr (38-8) soph., 215 Isiah Pasik (36-8) fr.
Outlook: New Lothrop finished runner-up for the second straight season a year ago despite entering as the sixth seed, and the Hornets have appeared in five straight championship matches. In addition to contending again, this will be a valuable experience for a group that includes only six seniors, including five scheduled to be in the lineup Friday. Wolford won the 140-pound individual championship last season, while Carnahan was a runner-up and Zell was a placer.
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 5
League finish: First in Cascades Conference
Coach: Steve Vlcek, 29th season (601-213)
Championship history: Division 4 runner-up 2008.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Jacob Bunn (27-7) fr., 103 Jared Bunn (39-10) fr., 119 Drew Gebhardt (41-9) jr., 130 Jacob Shelby (44-5) jr., 135 Grant Tungate (34-12) sr., 140 Josh Bunn (20-8) sr., 145 Jacob Kurgin (41-8) jr., 152 Max Wagner (36-16) sr., 160 Nick Phillips (36-16) jr., 171 Collin McCaffrey (46-7) jr., 189 Derek Guenther (34-13) jr., 285 Simon Lato (42-11) jr.
Outlook: Manchester is back at the Quarterfinals for the third time in four seasons after missing a year ago, with a win over No. 10 Springport in the Regional Final clinching this trip. This is another team that could be on the verge of a couple of big finishes, with only six seniors and four expected to start. Gebhardt and Shelby were Finals placers last season, and they are two of 10 Flying Dutchmen with at least 30 wins this winter.
#6 Leroy Pine River
Record/rank: 25-9, No. 8
League finish: First in Mid-Michigan Wrestling Conference
Coach: Tim Jones, 20th season (556-132)
Championship history: Class C runner-up 1991.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Matthew Treiber (29-17) fr., 130 Jordan Koetje (35-9) jr., 145 Thomas Hooker (30-17) jr., 160 Austin Wuesten (33-10) jr., 171 Brock Nelson (44-2) jr., 215 Tim Rizor (42-2) jr., 285 Bryan McCurry (43-5) sr.
Outlook: Some incredible totals keep growing – make that now 19 league and District titles and eight Regional championships (including five straight) since Jones took over the program. Pine River also advanced to the Semifinals last season with a relatively young team that returns with one expected senior starter but a strong junior group. Nelson and Rizor were Finals placers last season, Rizor a runner-up.
Record/rank: 21-2, unranked
League finish: First in North Star League
Coach: Mark Grant, 17th season (record N/A)
Championship history: Has not appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 125 Joey Galvez (34-11) soph., 130 Teddy Peters (37-10) jr., 135 Matthew Grant (30-5) jr., 140 Brendan Fenstermaker (37-13) soph., 152 Seth Enos (32-14) soph.
Outlook: After making the Quarterfinals last season for the first time, Onaway is back and moved up a seed. Matthew Grant was a Finals runner-up last season at 135 and leads a group of qualifiers that has grown from three last season to five making the trip to Ford Field next weekend.
Record/rank: 27-11, unranked
League finish: First in Southwestern Athletic Conference
Coach: Rob Ling, 14th season (318-147)
Championship history: Has not appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Caden Sukich (44-7) jr., 119 Hunter Martens (42-11) soph., 152 Mark Fox (41-9) jr., 285 River Fox (49-2) sr.
Outlook: Schoolcraft is coming off its first Regional title and edged formerly-ranked White Pigeon to earn the trip to Kalamazoo. This next step comes after the Eagles won their second straight league and District championships, and with a lineup that’s split evenly between upper and underclassmen but will graduate only three starters. River Fox was a Finals placer last season.
PHOTO: Carson City-Crystal, here during a match in December, is the second seed in Division 4 this weekend. (Click for more from 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 [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.)