Dundee 'Team X' Takes Back D3

February 24, 2018

By Jeff Chaney
Special for Second Half

KALAMAZOO – Brandon Whitman and the Dundee wrestling team quickly changed into Team X T-shirts as the clock wound down Saturday night on the MHSAA Division 3 Team Wrestling Final at Wings Event Center.

The shirts were in honor of the Vikings' 10th team title won in the program's incredible history.

Dundee clinched it by beating long-time nemesis Richmond in the championship match 40-15 in front of a loud crowd.

"This is very exciting; we have been working our butts off," said Whitman, who is a three-time individual champion as well. "This is the closest group of people I have been with since I started in high school, and I am glad it is paying off."

Dundee coach Tim Roberts echoed those sentiments on how close-knit this team is, and how important that was to winning the title this year.

"I told these guys at the beginning of the year that they would be the 10th team to win a championship, they would be Team X," said Roberts, whose Vikings ended the season with a 17-3 record. "I thought we had the talent and the drive, and this team had a lot of doing it for each other. This was not a selfish effort. I have been doing this 28 years now, and this may have been one of the most fun seasons I had. It was fun to watch kids work for something bigger than themselves."

The talent on both teams was on display in the opening match.

Starting at the 215-pound weight class, Whitman, the top-ranked 215-pounder by Michigan Grappler, took on second-ranked Colton McKiernan. And in a hard-fought match, Whitman defeated McKiernan 6-3 to set the tone for the rest of the Final.

After the Blue Devils tied the score at 3-3 with a decision by heavyweight Tyler Marino, Dundee went on to win five of the next six matches wrestled to take a 24-6 lead entering the 140-pound weight class.

The last in that run came from super freshman Stoney Buell, who pinned his ranked opponent in one minute.

In the end, Dundee won 10 of the 14 matches wrestled.

"In all, we gave up three falls, and the rest were close decisions," said Richmond co-coach Brandon Day, whose team ended with a 21-6 record. "We have a bunch of tough grinding kids, but they have some very talented guys. It is what it is; we will get back to work tomorrow for next year."

And next year could very well be like 10 of the past 13 years. That's how many times these two teams have met for the Division 3 championship. 

The Blue Devils have eight titles, including last year's tie-breaker criteria decision win over Dundee.

"We talked about that regularly," Roberts said. "We wanted to fix a wrong."

Now Day and the Blue Devils have some added motivation for next year, and maybe even a little more.

"We are who we are, and they are who they are, and we knew this was going to be a fist fight," Day said. "We went at each other, they are just a better team, but we will remember all the fist pumping they did."

Click for full results of the weekend’s Division 3 matches.

PHOTOS: (Top) Dundee’s Jonathon White celebrates a win during the Division 3 Final while his team’s fans cheer in the background. (Middle) Hayden Bastian rallies his team after his pin at 140 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 [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.)