Davison Breaks DCC's Hold on Division 1 Supremacy

By Dan Stickradt
Special for Second Half

March 30, 2021

KALAMAZOO — Cameron Freeman tweaked his knee last weekend and admittedly was in a lot of pain the past couple of days. 

The Davison junior still stepped in and gutted out perhaps the biggest win of the season for the Cardinals.

With his team up 26-21 with two matches remaining against four-time reigning Division 1 champion Detroit Catholic Central, the junior 130-pounder went out on the mat and held off his opponent for a 3-2 victory, clinching the Division 1 title for Davison by an eventual 29-24 score.

It marked Davison’s first Finals win since 2006, as the Cardinals lost in the championship matches five times since then, including last year’s 34-23 defeat to Catholic Central.

“For him to go out there with his knee hurting is amazing. He stepped up for us,” said Davison coach Roy Hall. “He has a meniscus issue and I know he’s in a lot of pain. But he wanted to go out there and win for us.”

Freeman staved off DCC’s Anthony Walker in the third period. Walker recorded a takedown and was trying for a second takedown in the waning seconds before time expired.  

“This is for the seniors,” said Freeman. “Earlier in the week, I was suffering from a knee injury. I came back and just did this for the seniors. This is the best team I’ve ever been on.”

The Cardinals now own nine Finals team titles and six runner-up trophies. Of those five championship match losses over the last eight years, four were to DCC. 

“How sweet it is — it’s awesome for these kids,” added Hall. “We came close last year and maybe we could have won that match but came up short. I’m pretty accomplished as a coach, but these kids have never accomplished this before.”

Detroit Catholic Central/Davison wrestlingBoth teams won seven matches on the day. Davison recorded three decisions, two technical fall victories, one major decision and one pin to record the narrow five-point victory over the Shamrocks. 

Catholic Central (21-2) had won 15 Finals team titles dating back to 1969 — eight during the previous decade — and finished in the runner-up slot only twice before this year. The Shamrocks were trying to become just the second Division 1 school to win five team titles in a row.

Previously, Davison captured five straight from 2002-2006.

Earlier this month, Davison won a match between the contenders 36-9. 

“We lost 12 matches out of 14,” said Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock, referring to that first defeat. “So for our guys to come out today and respond and wrestle the way we did to put ourselves into position to win that dual – that’s a great team, and we took them right to the wire. This time we battled them and were right there with them. We split matches with them 7-7; they just scored more bonus points. 

“This stings — look at the faces on our team. Anthony Walker feels a little dejected right now, but he’s got nothing to be ashamed of,” continued Hancock. “He was right there against a great opponent. Hats off to Davison and Roy Hall. They are a great team this year.” 

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PHOTOS: (Top) Davison celebrates its Division 1 championship Tuesday at Wings Event Center. (Middle) Davison and Detroit Catholic Central faced off for the second-straight season in the Final. (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.

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.)