Hudson's Weaver Ends With Perfection

March 1, 2014

By Greg Chrapek
Special to Second Half

AUBURN HILLS – After seeing his team’s string of five straight MHSAA team championships come to an end the week before in the Division 4 Final at Kellogg Arena, Hudson senior Cole Weaver was not about to let his high school career end with a loss at the Individual Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

A two-time champion with a perfect record this winter, Weaver was determined to not have a letdown in his title match at 140 pounds against Chase Siersema, a returning finalist from Hesperia.

Weaver capped his career in style as he defeated Siersema 9-4 to win his third straight individual title and finish this season with a 57-0 record.

“I wanted to end my career with a bang,” Weaver said. “I did not want to get beat. I turned it up.”

Weaver, who will continue his wrestling career at Indiana University next season, was solid on his feet as he steadily built a lead against Siersema, who finished the season with a 44-4 mark. 

“Takedowns were the key,” Weaver said. “I didn’t think he could beat me on my feet.”

While three individual titles in a row meant a lot to Weaver, the sting of seeing Hudson’s string of team titles snapped was still a painful subject for him.

“That is still a touchy subject,” Weaver said. “It hurts knowing that the string was snapped. It meant a lot to Hudson and to us.”


Champion: Davian Gowens, Hesperia, Soph. (24-3)
Decision, 14-6, over Corey Agens, Hesperia, Sr. (43-9)

Teammates and training partners squared off when Gowens wrestled Agens at 103 pounds. Gowens, who beat his teammate by a single point in both the District and Regional tournaments, steadily built a lead against his teammate in the Final.

“I’m a lot stronger this year,” Gowens said. “I weighed 95 pounds last year.”

Going up against his training partner was not something to which he looked forward.

“We wrestle each other every day,” Gowens said. “It’s very difficult wrestling against your partner. You really don’t want to beat him, but you are in the state finals.” 


Champion: Joe Traynham, Onaway, Jr. (43-4)
Major decision, 16-4, over Roddy Hamdan, Hudson, Jr. (45-12)

Coming from Onaway, Traynham showed the crowd at The Palace that there are some serious wrestlers in Northern Michigan as he defeated a returning MHSAA champion with a major decision.

Traynham grabbed the lead early and steadily built it to double figures.

“Anybody can be beat,” Traynham said. “I feel like I put more time into training then anybody here.”

Traynham was making his first trip to the Finals as he was defeated in the second round of consolations at Regionals last year to miss the cut.

“I just worked so hard during the summer,” Traynham said. “I went all over the country wrestling and spent so much time in the weight room.”

All the work paid off in a big way.

“I can’t explain how it feels,” Traynham said. “It’s too good a feeling. This is something that I’ve been working for since the eighth grade.”    


Champion: Logan Griffin, Erie-Mason, Jr. (34-4)
Decision, 6-2, over Dresden Simon, Dansville, Soph. (49-4)

Last year, Griffin battled through a shoulder injury at the Finals to win his first title. This season, a healthy Griffin was in command throughout his match with Simon.

“Last year I didn’t have much practice because of my injury,” Griffin said. “This year I was on my A game. I thought I peaked at the right time.”

Griffin also sported a new look at the Finals as his newly-dyed bright blue hair stood out.

“I lost a bet with my teammate,” Simon said. “If I pinned my first kid at Regional he would dye his hair, and if he beat his first kid at Regional I would dye my hair. We ended up both pinning, so we both dyed our hair.    


Champion: Zack Yates, Hesperia, Sr. (47-0)
Technical fall, 15-0, over Logan Eaves, Hesperia, Soph. (38-15)

Not only did Yates defeat a teammate when he stopped Eaves, but he also defeated a family member to earn the title as the two are also first cousins.

“You can’t go out there thinking you are wrestling a family member,” Yates said. “You have to go out there and give it your all. You can’t go out there and take it easy.”

For Yates, it was his third straight appearance in the Finals and second straight individual title. Yates also wrapped up the season with a perfect record.

“I was proud that my cousin made it to the Finals,” Yates said. “He had a couple of ranked kids ahead of him, but he pulled it off. I just had to go out there and go as hard as I can.”


Champion: Carter Ballinger, Jonesville, Sr. (47-1)
Decision, 5-3 (OT), over Kyle Barkovich, Lawton, Jr. (50-3)

On the trip up to Auburn Hills from Jonesville on Thursday, Ballinger was not sure he would even be able to wrestle this weekend. Early in the week, Ballinger suffered an allergic reaction to some medicine used to treat a spot staph infection, which left him with a bright red rash on his neck and shoulders.

“I only got an hour and a half of sleep worrying about if I would be able to wrestle or not,” Ballinger said. “I was not sure I would be able to wrestle.” 

Ballinger got the green light and took full advantage as he brought home the first title for Jonesville in 40 years.

“My coach was planning to retire after my freshman year, but I sent him a text saying that I was going to win a state title some day, and he decided to stick around,” Ballinger said. “This is just crazy. It’s amazing.”


Champion: Brock Thumm, Watervliet, Sr. (40-0)
Decision, 10-5, over Trenton Roesly, Hesperia, Jr. (50-4)

If not for a shoulder injury suffered last year, Thumm could well have been wrestling for a third consecutive title Saturday.

An MHSAA champion as a sophomore, Thumm suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder early last season. He needed to have three bones shaved and three titanium pins placed in his shoulder and missed the remainder of his junior season.

“I put in a lot of work over the summer and it feels great to come back,” Thumm said. “I worked on my conditioning and to get my shoulder strong.”

The hard work paid off for Thumm, who started strong and never looked back.

“This is very special for me,” Thumm said. “I worked pretty hard for this. I just wanted to end my senior season at state.”


Champion: JD Waters, Hudson, Sr. (49-10)
Fall, 0:51 over Zachary Francis, Lutheran Westland, Sr. (20-4)

The signature move for Hudson wrestlers is the far-side cradle, and Waters wasted little time in executing the move to perfection as he won his second consecutive title.

“The far-side cradle, it’s what Hudson is known for,” Waters said. “All Hudson wrestlers know how to use it, and it came in handy today.”

Waters’ victory at 145 pounds came on the heels of his teammate Weaver’s title at 140, and the wins were a perfect end to the high school careers of the Hudson wrestling standouts who started out as teammates at a young age.

“I love Hudson; there is nowhere else I would want to wrestle,” Waters said. “Cole is my partner, and we have been wrestling together since kindergarten. When we were in junior high school, we would go to the high school meets and see all the bigger guys and say that we wanted to be like that some day.” 


Champion: Kyle Johnson, Hudson, Soph. (46-10)
Decision, 5-4 over Ali Rashad, Highland Park Renaissance Academy, Sr. (29-2)

Working in the Hudson wrestling room with champions like Weaver and Waters has proven to be very beneficial for Johnson, a sophomore. After finishing third at the MHSAA Finals at 152 pounds last year, Johnson is starting to work on his own Hudson wrestling legacy as he avenged a loss suffered against Rashad in the Individual Regional.

“He (Rashad) beat me 2-1 at Regionals,” Johnson said. “I knew what I had to do this time. I had to make sure that he didn’t throw me.”

Johnson took an early lead against Rashad and wrestled a solid technical match to earn the win.

“I train for the big moments,” Johnson said. “Wrestling against Cole and JD, you gain so much and learn so much. You know, at a little school like Hudson, when you wrestle against Cole you are going up against someone that is going to Indiana and that makes you so much better. I’m so glad I’m able to train with guys like that.”    


Champion: Josh Wendling, New Lothrop, Sr. (56-4)
Decision, 13-7, over Mark Workman, Hesperia, Soph. (27-3)

Wendling added a second straight title and finished his career at New Lothrop with a 202-24 overall record.

After helping New Lothrop win the team title a week ago, Wendling had to guard against a letdown this week.

“I had to keep my mind right,” Wendling said. “Everyone was talking about the team state all week, and it was tough keeping my mind at the task at hand. I thought I was able to do that and keep myself at the top of my game.”

Wendling also had to guard against the high expectations of a returning champion.

“Just because I won it last year, everyone thought I had it locked up this year,” Wendling said. “They thought I would win automatically. Winning this one was awesome. It feels great.” 


Champion: Taylor Krupp, New Lothrop, Sr. (56-0)
Decision, 6-5, over Shane Rodenburg, Kent City, Jr. (52-2)

Saturday’s title was vindication for the entire Krupp family.

Last year Taylor lost in overtime in the 160-pound championship match. Taylor’s older brother Justin reached the Finals twice during his career but also came up short both times.

This time Taylor won the title and did it in a big way as he scored a takedown in the final 10 seconds to secure the win. Making the moment even more special was having Justin, a New Lothrop assistant, right there on the mat.

“Justin is my coach, and he was the first one who hugged me after the match,” Taylor said. “It was sweet having Justin there when I finally won it. It was a great brother-bonding moment. It was great to share it with him. He was there to see me lose last year, and now he was here to see me win this year. ” 

Making the day even sweeter for the Krupp family was young brother Connor, a freshman, placing fifth at 103 pounds.


Champion: Jacob Cooper, Springport, Jr. (45-2)
Decision, 7-2, over Nathan Philburn, Byron, Sr. (35-5)

After winning the 160-pound title last year, Cooper went up two weight classes this winter. The move up in weight did little to slow him down as he added a second straight title. 

“At first it was hard getting used to the new weight class,” Cooper said. “I eventually got used to it and adapted to it.”

Cooper used his quickness and ability to score on his feet to his advantage during the match. 

“I knew he was all upper-body,” Cooper said. “I knew I would have some shots. I just had to keep going in.”

With a second MHSAA title under his belt, Cooper already is setting his sights on a three-peat. 

“I just have to keep getting better and stronger,” Cooper said. “I have to keep working hard.” 


Champion: Kevin Koenig, Laingsburg, Soph. (48-3)
Decision, 14-3, over Patrick Harbin Jr., Detroit Loyola, Jr. (20-1)

After losing in the Final by technical fall last year, Koenig was on a mission this season and he didn’t let up until he captured the first MHSAA title in school history.

“I knew I had him after the first takedown,” Koenig said. “He couldn’t stop it.”

Koenig began wrestling in the third grade.

“I wanted to be the first state champion in school history,” Koenig said. “Ever since the eighth grade I have been working for this.”


Champion: Ryan Prescott, Whittemore-Prescott, Jr. (34-0)
Fall, 2:41, over Nate Boardman, Hillsdale, Sr. (40-2)

It was a second straight title for Prescott, who turned in a dominant season. Prescott took command of his match early and then finished the job with a pin in the second period.

“It feels like I’m on top of the world,” Prescott said. 

A three-time MHSAA finalist, Prescott lost by one point in the title match as a freshman and then won the by decision last year. This time around Prescott won the title in a big way, and he credits his improvement to hard work and experience.

“Maturity,” Prescott said. “My maturity really helped me. I feel I am such a better wrestler and much stronger. I have improved a lot since last year. I worked so hard during the summer. Training and going to camps.”   

Click for full results.

PHOTO: Hudson's Cole Weaver (left) works to control Hesperia's Chase Siersema during their Division 4 Final at 140 pounds. (Click to see more fromHigh School Sports Scene.) 

Bragging Rights for Both as Multi-Sport Sage Twins Shine at Ford Field

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

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.)