D4 Preview: Sending Out the Seniors

March 4, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Michigan will celebrate one last time this weekend, at the high school level, an accomplished group of seniors who have dominated the Division 4 Individual Wrestling Finals during the first half of this decade.

Four seniors will take the mat beginning Thursday with a combined seven titles already to their credit. Four more seniors are undefeated and looking to earn a first championship in their final trip.

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 4 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: Joe Traynham, Onaway senior (43-3) – The reigning champion at this weight didn’t make his first Finals until last season but should again be in the mix at the end of a bracket that’s arguably gotten tougher.

119: Logan Griffin, Erie-Mason senior (38-0) – This reigning champion also won 112 as a sophomore and was runner-up there as a freshman; he’s going for a second perfect season after finishing undefeated in 2012-13.

130: Dresden Simon, Dansville junior (54-0) – Last season’s runner-up at 119 has moved up two classes and gone over 100 wins for his career after tallying a 49-4 record and wrestling Griffin to a 6-2 decision in the Final last winter.

135: Kyle Barkovich, Lawton senior (51-2) – He finished runner-up at 130 last season, falling by a 5-3 decision in the Final, and is a favorite to add a championship to his other three top-eight placings that also included a sixth at 103 as a freshman and fourth at 112 as a sophomore.

152: Kyle Johnson, Hudson junior (43-7) – His record includes a few more losses than most because Hudson wrestles its share of tough opponents, but Johnson won this weight last year despite entering with 10 defeats.

171: Shane Rodenburg, Kent City senior (53-0) – The four-year standout has gradually moved up the podium at the Finals, from fifth at 160 as a freshman to third at 171 as a sophomore and second at that weight last season; he stands 213-14 for his career.

189: Brody Conner, Lawton senior (54-0) – Like his teammate Barkovich, Connor is hoping to add a title to his fine run after taking third at 171 last season and fifth at 152 pounds as a sophomore.

215: Jacob Cooper, Springport senior (51-0) – Last season’s champion at 189 can finish with a crowning achievement and first perfect season to go also with his title at 160 pounds as a sophomore and runner-up finish at 145 as a freshman.

215: Kevin Koenig, Laingsburg junior (53-1) – He should be Cooper’s main competition, and the other way around as Koenig is the reigning champion at 215 and finished runner-up at that weight as a freshman.

285: Ryan Prescott, Whittemore-Prescott senior (27-0) – The champion at 285 the last two seasons and runner-up in 2012 hasn’t lost since his sophomore year and is 147-4 for his career entering the weekend.

Other 2014 runners-up: Hudson junior Roddy Hamdan (119, 40-7, 112 in 2014), Hesperia senior Trenton Roesly (140, 36-5, 135 in 2014), Manchester senior Brendan Abrigo (112, 47-1, 103 in Division 3 in 2014), Carson City-Crystal senior Alex Young (140, 37-4, 135 in Division 3 in 2014 for Portland).

Also undefeated: Montrose senior Arthur Payne (47-0, 119), New Lothrop junior Cole Hersch (48-0, 135),  New Lothrop junior Steven Garza II (38-0, 145), Carson City-Crystal senior Dillen Decker (54-0, 160), Bangor sophomore Devon Kozel (43-0, 215).

More of note: Dansville freshman Anthony Mack (46-2, 103), Erie-Mason sophomore Robert Lefevre (23-2, 112), Dansville junior Clay Ragon (50-4, 125), New Lothrop junior Steven Garza II (38-0, 145), Decatur senior Hunter Bell (52-1, 152), Carson City-Crystal senior Dillen Decker (54-0, 160).

PHOTO: Whittemore-Prescott’s Ryan Prescott celebrates a championship-clinching pin to end last season’s Division 4 match at 285 pounds. (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 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.)