Girls Preview: Contenders Compete for 1st MHSAA Finals Titles
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 3, 2022
The first MHSAA champions in any sport are always recalled with special recognition. This weekend, the first champions of the Individual Wrestling Finals girls division will become part of that history.
This season’s event at Ford Field will be following up state tournaments conducted by the Michigan Wrestling Association the last three years, and those championship meets are referenced frequently below as we preview some of the first MHSAA Finals’ title contenders.
The Grand March on Friday begins at 10 a.m., with wrestling through semifinals that evening. Wrestling begins again at 9 a.m. Saturday with championship matches at 3:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at Ford Field. All matches will be broadcast live on MHSAA.tv, and we’ll talk to all 14 champions in each division for our Second Half coverage published later that evening and overnight. See the MHSAA Wrestling Finals page for more information and to follow results this weekend.
100 Emme Hicks, Saline junior (24-10) – She’s become one of the early stars in this division entering this weekend after winning MWA championships at 97 pounds both of her first two high school seasons.
120 Angelina Pena, Milan sophomore (10-2) – She won the MWA title at 122 pounds in 2021 and claimed this season’s Regional with two pins and two major decisions.
125 Ryen Allen, Goodrich sophomore (3-0) – She was the 132-pound MWA champ in 2021 and won by pin all three of her Regional matches two weekends ago.
155 Amarisa Manuel, Romeo sophomore (6-0) – Last year’s 145-pound MWA champion also won all three of her Regional matches by pin this season.
170 Khloe Williams, Clio junior (5-1) – She has plenty of high school championship match experience after winning the MWA title at 168 as a freshman and finishing runner-up last season.
170 Sabrina Nauss, Brighton sophomore (14-5) – She claimed last year’s MWA title at 168 and advanced to this weekend with two pins at Regionals.
170 Bo Geibe, Constantine senior (22-3) – She was Regional runner-up to Williams and has championship match experience as well with an MWA title at 189 as a freshman and runner-up finish at 168 as a sophomore.
190 Kailyn Garrett, South Lyon senior (12-17) – She won the 184-pound MWA title as a sophomore and was the 189 runner-up as a freshman. She also won her Regional two weekends ago with a pair of falls.
190 Gabriella Allen, Marcellus sophomore (20-12) – The MWA runner-up at 184 as a freshman, she won her Regional this season with three pins in a combined 4:28.
255 Eliana Bommarito, Hartland senior (17-6) – She’s aiming for her fourth high school championship after winning MWA titles at 235 as a freshman and 270 the last two seasons.
Other Regional champions: 100 Tricia Pyrzewski, Gladwin sophomore (31-12); 105 Sky Langewicz, Algonac freshman (29-3); 105 Sunni LaFond, Gaylord freshman (29-8); 110 Savannah Winkleblack, Montague sophomore (20-14); 110 Elena Gassner, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley junior (20-14); 115 Margaret Buurma, Fowlerville freshman (28-15); 115 Faith Burgess, Grand Blanc freshman (22-6); 120 Arden Eschtruth, Midland junior (19-4); 125 Kennedy Tiitola, Saginaw Swan Valley sophomore (21-4); 130 Tyler Swanigan, South Lyon East sophomore (24-17); 130 Faith Blackburn, Clinton sophomore (20-1); 135 Morgan Bailey, Gladwin senior (20-18); 135 Kennedy Edson, Lawrence junior (13-4); 140 Erin McArdle, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker senior (3-0); 140 Emma Pendell, Montague sophomore (18-8); 145 Libia Hernandez, Wyoming Lee senior (15-9); 145 Mishell Rebisch, Romeo sophomore (7-0); 155 Lydia Krauss, Boyne City senior (36-8); 255 Madasyn Frisbee, Belding freshman (14-9).
PHOTO Gaylord’s Sunni LaFond wrestles during Friday’s Division 2 Team Quarterfinals at Wings Event Center. (Click to see 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.
That 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 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.)