Dundee Runs Title Total to 14, Championship Streak to 5 in D3

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

February 26, 2022

KALAMAZOO – It had to be Casey Swiderski.

The best way to cap off another dominant season for Division 3’s dominant wrestling program was by having its most dominant wrestler on the mat for the final match.

Swiderski, who will compete for a fourth straight individual title in a week, won by pin Saturday to close out Dundee’s 55-12 Division 3 Final victory against Alma at Wings Event Center. It was the fifth-straight Finals title for the Vikings.

“Nothing beats that, man,” Swiderski said. “It’s crazy that’s the weight that was drawn. I weighed in above 160 by a pound, and I knew I was going to go 171. It’s just crazy that was drawn. It’s awesome. No better feeling than this right here.”

The Vikings (17-4) have now won eight of the past 10 Division 3 Finals titles, and 14 total. They’ve made at least the Final in each of the past 11 seasons.

“It’s the first time in our school’s history that we’ve won five in a row,” Dundee coach Tim Roberts said. “Where this team was when we started the year, I knew we had a lot of good guys coming back, but when we started, everybody was 152 and below, and we had a bunch of guys at 145. Some guys had to just wrestle over their heads. Connor Collins, he’s a 152-pounder is what he should be. We had him wrestle 160 all year then had him get heavy so he could wrestle 189. Then this weekend, he’s wrestling 189, winning matches, and that Jacob Munger (of Alma) is the No. 1-ranked kid in the state right now, and he kept it to a regular decision. So you’ve got guys giving efforts like and fighting like that.”

As Saturday’s match ended, Roberts and Swiderski shared an embrace on the edge of the mat.

“When we drew that weight, we’d weighed him in at (160) this weekend for a purpose, but we just decided that no matter what, he’s wrestling last,” Roberts said. “He’s been special to this program with all the things he’s accomplished. The level he wrestles, it’s just really fun to watch. All the things he’s done, I’m really proud of him.”

Alma/Dundee wrestlingSwiderski is one of multiple returning individual champions and top-ranked wrestlers for the Vikings, who actually fell behind 9-0 in the dual.

Munger opened with the decision for Alma, and Adam Garcia won by pin at 215 to get the Panthers’ crowd on its feet.

It only took 45 seconds, however, for Dundee to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish, as Kaiden Hubbell (285) and Ashton Viers (103) each won with first-period pins.

That was the beginning of 10 straight victories for the Vikings. Kyle Smith (119), Braeden Davis (125), Logan Sander (140) and Aiden Davis (152) won by pin, Kaden Chinavare (135) won by major decision, and Kade Kluce (112), Cameron Chinavare (130) and Trey Parker (145) each won by decision.

“I thought we had a better chance,” Alma coach Randy Miniard said. “I thought we could take the four top weight classes by pin, so I thought if we could sneak in two or three other matches, we might be able to sneak it in there. But we had a hell of a run. At the beginning of the season, we wanted to make the Finals. This year, we thought we had a chance. Knowing that you have a chance and getting here is really, really special. Even though we didn’t get the job done, there’s no shame in losing to Dundee.”

The trip to the Final was the first for Alma (28-2). The Panthers had qualified for the Semifinals the previous two seasons, and its large senior class had finished every season at Kalamazoo.

“I’ve got 10 seniors that put the work in ever since they were in youth wrestling until now, and they deserve every bit of it,” Miniard said. “There’s so many people that it takes to be a championship-quality team. The tradition of Alma wrestling, for five years in a row being here, is unbelievable, and it took a lot of people and a lot of effort. It takes a community of people to win championships, and we’ve got a community of people in Alma that love their wrestling program.”

Cole O’Boyle (160) also picked up a victory for Alma in the Final.

Dundee defeated Imlay City 74-5 in the Semifinals. Both Chinavares, both Davises, Sander, Swiderski, Hubbell, Viers and Kluce all had three wins on the weekend for Dundee.

Alma knocked off Clinton – the 2020 and 2021 Division 4 champion – 33-29 in the Semifinals. The match was sealed by a Fabian Facundo decision, but turned on its head when Munger defeated three-time individual champion Logan Badge at 189. Munger and Garcia each finished with three wins on the weekend for Alma.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Dundee’s wrestlers celebrate their fifth-straight Division 3 championship Saturday. (Middle) Alma’s Jacob Munger works toward a decision at 189 pounds. (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 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.)