Davison's Facundo Earns Historic Opportunity

March 7, 2020

By Dan Stickradt
Special for Second Half 

DETROIT — Alex Facundo suffered a blow when he was disqualified one week ago during a match at the Division 1 Team Finals against eventual champion Detroit Catholic Central. 

But Facundo, the top-ranked wrestler in both the state and nation, did not let last weekend’s setback deter his goal this weekend of winning a third Individual Finals title.

Facundo, a junior who has committed to Penn State, posted a 13-5 major decision victory over Grandville’s Josh Kenny at 171 pounds at Ford Field. 

“I wanted to win this really bad and prove that I was the best in the state — and nation,” smiled Facundo. “I did that today. (Last week’s opponent) didn’t beat me. I lost on a (technically). I had something to prove.”

Facundo, who finished 39-2 this winter, will try to join an elite crowd next season as he’ll pursue a fourth MHSAA individual title.

“I’m really happy with the third title. I knew I could do it,” he said. “Next year, I’ll come back and go after my fourth title.”

Kenny, a senior who was third at 152 last season, finished 38-2.


Caden Horwath, Davison, Fr. (43-2)
Decision, 7-2, over Louden Stradling, Battle Creek Lakeview, Fr. (51-2)

One of five finalists for Davison, Horwath wrapped up a stellar 44-2 freshman campaign.

“I got a couple of takedowns early, rode him pretty hard on top and I took control,” said Horwath. “It means a lot to me because all of my hard work paid off. It’s a little relief off my shoulders.

“There’s a lot of (history) at Davison and because we lost (in the Team Final) it feels good for all of us to do well here,” added Horwath. “Now I hope to be back next year.”


Dylan Gilcher, Detroit Catholic Central, Fr., (40-3)
Technical fall, 18-3 (4:29), over Aiden Smith, Brighton, Soph. (39-11)

One of the state’s premier freshmen, Gilcher joined Catholic Central’s long list of Finals champions.

“There’s so much history at CC, and it’s incredible to be able to win a title,” said Gilcher. “It’s an incredible feeling and such a blessing to wrestle here at (Catholic Central). There’s some really high expectations.”


Brendan Ferretti, Macomb Dakota, Jr. (34-1)
Decision, 7-2, over Andrew Hampton, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, Jr. (52-2)

Ferretti has been nearly unstoppable the past two seasons, posting a 90-1 record during that span. The junior outlasted Hampton to capture his second straight title.

Ferretti won at 112 last season. 

“I never wrestled (Hampton) in my life. I just know I’m the best in my (weight) class and I wanted this,” said Ferretti. “I was nervous coming in, but it’s always good to work out those nerves and just go out there and win. I love this. I thrive off of (the big crowds). It makes it so much better, I think."


Andrew Chambal, Davison, Sr., (42-5)
Decision, 5-1, over Mason Shrader, Brighton, Jr. (41-7)

Davison had five finalists, and top-seeded Andrew Chambal came through with the victory in his final high school match. 

He finished second at 119 last season. 

“I went to a really dark place last year after I lost,” said Chambal. “Things were different for a while. Coming out here and doing what I love and coming out on top means the world to me. This changes my life. I feel like I’m on top of the world again.”


Sam Freeman, Brighton, Sr. (41-5)
Decision, 3-2, over Dylan Phelps, Holt, Sr. (39-5)

Freeman put together four years of hard work to reach the summit as a senior. He ended his prep career with a narrow 3-2 decision over Phelps, an opponent he has wrestled several times.

“This is just four years of hard work,” said Freeman. “A lot of guys will peak freshman year, but I didn’t make it to states my freshman year. I kept working, and it means so much more to know that I kept working to get here. It’s a great feeling to be at the top of the mountain at the end of the day.

“It’s not confidence as much as it’s excitement,” added Freeman. “This was two guys on the same level going for it on the big stage with a great match like that.”


Eddie Homrock, Brighton, Sr. (43-3)
Major decision, 9-0, over Camden Trupp, Detroit Catholic Central, Jr. (35-6)

Homrock has gotten used to Finals championships.

He’s now won two of them, after also capturing the title at 125 in 2019. But this deciding match carried some extra significance.

“I was nervous (this time), not because of (my opponent), but because it was my last match,” Homrock said. “I wasn’t scared, just nervous. I went out there and got it done. I knew no matter what I was going to push through it all.”


Josh Edmond, Detroit Catholic Central, Sr. (43-0)
Technical fall, 23-7 (5:50), over Zach Johnson, Brighton, Jr. (41-9)

Detroit Catholic Central has produced legions of all-state wrestlers and champions. But Edmond reached an elite group at his school and statewide with his third Finals title. 

“It means a lot. I really wanted to be a three-time state champ, and I worked really hard for this,” said Edmond. “I think it’s a blessing. I am just blessed to be a part of the CC wrestling family. I thank all of my coaches for helping me get here.

“The game plan was to just wrestle hard. Things opened up, and I was able to pull away,” added Edmond. “I felt pretty good that I could win my third.”


T.J. Daugherty, Waterford Kettering, Sr. (35-0)
Decision, 3-1 (OT), over Marc Shaeffer, Detroit Catholic Central, Sr. (32-13)

Daugherty posted bookend Finals championship wins, earring titles as both a freshman and again as a senior.

“(Shaeffer) took a shot and I doubled by and went behind and got the point, and I did it,” said Daugherty of his win. “I beat him at (Oakland) County and I beat him at the Clarkston Duals. But this is where it matters most.

“When I was a freshman, I didn’t really know what was going on,” added Daugherty, who won at 103 in 2017. “This year I wanted to win it more than anything. I was able to get the win this year.”

Shaeffer previously finished runner-up at 140 in 2019. 


Josh Barr, Davison, Fr. (39-0)
Decision, 5-3, over Logan Sanom, Detroit Catholic Central, Sr. (42-10)

Davison’s future is bright, to say the least. There will be 11 returning starters next winter from a team that finished as the Division 1 runner-up, Barr among them.

The talented freshman was one of five finalists and three champions for the Cardinals, and a top seed at his first Individual Finals.

“I worked so hard all season to get here,” said Barr. “It’s a great feeling to win as a freshman. But this is just the beginning. I want to come back and go for it again. Plus we’re going to be really good again next year with almost everyone returning. We only had three seniors. So this is just a step (forward).”


Derek Gilcher, Detroit Catholic Central, Sr. (45-2)
Decision, 3-2, over Jay Nivison, Davison, Sr. (36-6)

Just a couple of hours after his freshman brother Dylan Gilcher claimed a title, Derek Gilcher followed suit with his third straight championship and fourth placing at the Finals. 

“Right now I feel great. But before my match I was a little nervous, really before my brother’s match. He’s new, he’s a freshman and never been through states before like I have,” said Gilcher. “But he did his job, and I had to go do mine.” 

Gilcher has been a four-year starter during Catholic Central’s four-year reign as the Division 1 team champion.

“I don’t think that’s been done before — the first time in CC history we’ve won four in a row,” smiled Gilcher. “We never won four in a row before, and now the three individual wins. It’s crazy. It adds to the legacy of the program, and the accomplishments show all of the hard work of the athletes and coaches.”


Manuel Rojas, Detroit Catholic Central, Soph. (46-1)
Decision, 7-3, over Colin Jagielski, Temperance Bedford, Sr. (47-3)

After getting the win with Facundo’s DQ at last weekend’s Team Final, Rojas heeded some advice from his coaches this week – and won his first individual championship.

“I went to school on Monday and sat down with (CC head coach Mitch Hancock). We decided to give up social media, stay off of it, and get away from all of the negativity. Just focus on all of the positive things,” said Rojas. “I just had to concentrate on getting prepared for this weekend and try to win here. Just be around my teammates and the people that care for me. That’s all that matters.

Rojas was poked in the eye during the first period Saturday, which drew a little blood, and the scratch forced his eye to swell throughout the match. 

“I hear it’s pretty nasty. I can’t see it yet,” added Rojas of his swollen eye. “It happens. That’s wrestling.”


Brendin Yatooma, Detroit Catholic Central, Sr. (45-1)
Decision, 4-2, over Luke Stanton, Brighton, Sr. (32-4)

One week after helping DCC to another team title, Yatooma aided his team’s run to nine individual state finalists and six individual champions. The reigning champ at 215 capped his prep career with a repeat.

“This is for our coach and our entire coaching staff. They work so hard for us to get to this point,” said Yatooma. “We wrestle as hard of a schedule as anyone, and we come here to win. It’s an incredible brotherhood at CC. Not just wrestling, but for everyone. There is nowhere else I’d rather be than here competing for CC.”


Steven Kolcheff, Detroit Catholic Central, Sr. (45-2)
Decision, 3-2 (OT), over Jake Swirple, Livonia Franklin, Sr. (58-2)

Kolcheff doesn’t mind a little overtime. He had to put some in Saturday night, and it resulted in a victory over top-seeded Swirple in the rubber match between the rivals.

Kolcheff won at the District level, while Swirple turned the tables during the Regional round.

“We’re the most conditioned team in the state,” said Kolcheff. “In overtime I felt good, felt confident. I didn’t want to win a state championship on a coin toss … so I went for it in overtime.

“It’s a great rivalry between us. For me, wrestling is my sport and it’s really dear to my heart. I want to win state titles, and that’s what I did today.”

Click for the full bracket.

PHOTO: Davison’s Alex Facundo (right) gets ahold of a leg of Grandville’s Josh Kenny on the way to winning his third Individual Finals championship. (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.)