D4 Preview: Wide-Open Field in Pursuit

March 2, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Contenders with a combined 21 appearances in MHSAA individual title matches return to the Division 4 Finals this weekend.

Eight are reigning champions, including one who won in Division 3 last season before his team was reclassified into this bracket.

Ten of those finalists past are discussed below – but with a group this deep, don’t be surprised if the 14 champions we highlight at the end of this weekend differ significantly.

Follow all matches on a subscription basis live on MHSAA.tv, and click here for results at MHSAA.com. And come back to Second Half late Saturday and Sunday as we’ll interview all 14 title winners.

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

112: Noah Comar, Clinton sophomore (47-0) – After finishing runner-up to Hudson’s Jordan Hamdan last season, he might run into another Tigers contender this time – but as the top seed coming in.

112: Tucker Scholl, Hudson sophomore (30-2) – He’s the second seed at this weight to Comar after claiming the championship at 103 last winter by major decision.

119: Spencer Good, Jackson Lumen Christi senior (37-7) – Good finds himself in a tough bracket with a Division 4 champion from last season, but he was a Division 3 champion claiming the 112 title with a 6-3 decision in 2016.

119: Jordan Hamdan, Hudson sophomore (44-2) – He’s that returning champion noted above, after winning the 112 title a year ago; Hamdan is the top seed at this weight.

125: Robert LeFevre, Erie-Mason senior (43-3) – Last season’s champion at 119 also was the runner-up at 112 as a sophomore and is a combined 108-6 over the last three seasons.

130: Robert Rogers, Burton Bentley junior (39-1) – Coming off Bentley’s first MHSAA individual title in 39 years, at 125, Rogers is looking to add a second straight this weekend entering with a combined record of 87-1 as a sophomore and junior.

140: Sean O’Hearon, Springport senior (38-0) – O’Hearon improved from a fourth place as a sophomore to win 135 last season and enters this weekend a combined 87-1 over the last two winters.

152: Gerrit Yates, Hesperia junior (33-1) – He finished runner-up at 135 as a freshman and 145 last season, but enters this weekend as the top seed at this weight and one of only four in the bracket with three or fewer losses this winter.

189: Erik Birchmeier, New Lothrop senior (28-2) – Last season’s champion at 171 earned that title with one of the most dramatic finishes of the 2016 Finals, coming back from a 5-2 deficit to start the third period to win 7-5 in overtime.

215: Nick Cooper, Springport senior (37-3) – The champion last season at 189, Cooper will try to graduate with a second title and the fifth for his family (brother Nick won three); he’s unseeded but 78-4 combined over the last two seasons and also was a runner-up as a sophomore.

Other 2016 runners-up: Manchester junior Reese Fry (103, 47-1), Decatur senior Coy Helmuth (125, 40-6, 119 in 2016), Manchester senior Ethan Woods (135, 45-2, 130 in 2016), St. Louis senior Konnor Holton (145, 42-3, 140 in 2016), Bangor senior Devon Kozel (215, 44-1), Decatur senior Logan Kennedy (285, 52-2).

Also undefeated: Schoolcraft senior Spencer Fox (130, 45-0), Manistique senior Tanner Gonzalez (160, 42-0).

No. 1 seeds: Manchester’s Fry (103), Clinton’s Comar (112), Hudson’s Hamdan (119), Mendon freshman Skyler Crespo (125, 48-1), Burton Bentley’s Rogers (130), Manchester’s Woods (135), Springport’s O’Hearon (140), Decatur senior Ethan May (145, 51-1), Hesperia’s Yates (152), Manistique’s Gonzalez (160), Bronson senior David Erwin (171, 50-2), New Lothrop’s Birchmeier (189), Bangor’s Kozel (215), Decatur’s Kennedy (285).

PHOTO: Springport’s Sean O’Hearon (top) works toward a major decision during his team’s Division 4 Quarterfinal on Friday at McGuirk Arena. (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.)