D4 Preview: Small Schools, Big Talents

March 2, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The best wrestlers in Michigan don’t have to attend the biggest high schools.

Meet Dansville’s Dresden Simon, a reigning champion in Division 4 who has beaten reigning Division 1 and 2 champs this season.

He’s one of 10 contenders we’ve broken out among many to watch this weekend at the Division 4 Individual Finals. 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. And come back to Second Half this weekend as we’ll interview all 14 title winners.

112: Seth Harvey, Addison junior (41-10) – Last season’s champion at 103 entered that tournament with seven losses, so he can’t be discounted this weekend amid a group dominated by freshmen competing at the Finals for the first time.

119: Robert LeFevre, Erie-Mason junior (35-0) – LeFevre finished runner-up at 112 last season, losing late by pin, but is the top seed this time as the only contender with fewer than five losses.

125: Davian Gowens, Hesperia senior (40-3) – The champion at 103 as a sophomore didn’t compete at the Finals last season but returns as a favorite this weekend having wrestled a tough schedule again.

130: Dallas O’Green, Carson City Crystal senior (51-0) – The reigning champion at 125 has only one loss combined over the last two seasons and after winning last year’s title 2-0.

140: Dresden Simon, Dansville senior (48-1) – The champion last season at 130 owns impressive wins over Grand Ledge reigning champion Dylan Steward and St. Johns reigning champion Ian Parker, the latter later handing Simon his only loss. Simon will wrestle next season at Central Michigan University.

145: Gerrit Yates, Hesperia sophomore (50-4) – He debuted last season with an impressive runner-up finish at 135, and led that championship match 8-4 before getting pinned with less than a minute left in regulation.

152: Steven Garza, New Lothrop senior (53-1) – After winning 145 last season with a perfect record, Garza has been nearly as flawless with just the one loss to go with another team championship earned last weekend.

160: Kyle Johnson, Hudson senior (45-8) – The 2014 champion at 152 fell back to fifth at that weight last season, but is the top seed at this weight class this time despite his losses against a loaded schedule.

215: Caleb Symons, New Lothrop senior (51-1) – Another member of the team champion Hornets, Symons was individual runner-up last season at 189, just missing a title with a 4-2 defeat.

285: Kevin Koenig, Laingsburg senior (51-1) – The reigning runner-up at 215 won that weight as a sophomore and also finished second as a freshman. His only loss this season came to reigning Division 1 215 champion Luke Ready of Brighton.

Other 2015 runners-up: Dansville sophomore Anthony Mack (112, 48-4, 103 in 2015), Manchester junior Ethan Woods (130, 45-2, 119 in 2015), Dansville senior Clay Ragon (135, 48-4, 125 in 2015), Hudson senior Mason Lopinski (145, 47-6, 145 in 2015), Springport junior Nick Cooper (189, 37-1, 171 in 2015).

Also undefeated: Burton Bentley sophomore Robert Rogers (125, 39-0), Hesperia senior Mark Workman (171, 31-0), Bangor junior Devon Kozel (215, 45-0).

Also of note: Hudson freshman Tucker Sholl (103, 44-3), Hudson freshman Jordan Hamdan (112, 47-6), Springport junior Sean O’Hearon (135, 45-1), New Lothrop junior Erik Birchmeier (171, 30-2).

The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard.

PHOTO: Dansville’s Dresden Simon, right, wrestles Highland Park Academy’s Lamont Cannon during last season’s Division 4 Finals. (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.)