Lowell 4-Peats With Win in Classic Clash

February 25, 2017

By Jeff Chaney
Special for Second Half

MOUNT PLEASANT – Lowell coach R.J. Boudro knew his wrestling team wasn't going to just show up Saturday for the Division 2 Final and walk away with its fourth straight team title.

He knew as far back as last year that there was a new team in the state trying to muscle its way to the top of the division that the Red Arrows have controlled since 2014.

Undefeated Warren Woods Tower pushed Lowell hard all the way to the end of their championship match at Central Michigan University's McGuirk Arena, before the Red Arrows proved that they were just a little bit better, winning 32-21.

"I knew from last year and how young they were that they were going to be a great team," Boudro said. "The studs they have, especially down low. They were no surprise to me that they were going to be a really good team."

The problem for the Titans may have been the starting weight.

Instead of starting in the lower weights, where Warren Woods Tower is strongest, the Finals started at 135 pounds. Lowell picked up the dual's first win when talented freshman Austin Boone won by major decision.

From there, the Red Arrows won six of the next eight weight classes to race out to a 25-7 lead with five classes to wrestle.

The Titans won the next three, all by bonus points, as David Stepanian won by pin at 103 and Chaise Mayer and Elijuh Weaver won by major decision victories at 112 and 119, respectively, to cut the Red Arrows’ lead to 25-21.

That's when the championship match took an unexpected turn, when Lowell's Jeff Leach was awarded four penalty points late in his bout at 125 when the Woods Tower wrestler, who had top control over Leach, did not bring Leach to the mat in a proper time while both were on their feet.

Leach ended up winning 7-0.

Still, Titans coach Greg Mayer – whose team finished 28-1 – knows that championships aren't won and lost in a single match.

"We wrestled hard, but there were some matches where we thought we would do a little better in," Mayer said. "We needed some more bonus points in the lower weights where we missed out on some. But that's not here nor there. I thought we wrestled hard; they are just a good team."

Boudro said his team did what it had to do to win.

"Today we fought all over the mat and fought for every point," said Boudro, whose team ended its season with a 21-2 record. "We saved some bonus points at 112 and 119, and that kind of ended up sealing the deal for us. “The way it ended … it was kind of a weird ending to the dual, but it was a great dual, and I think the fans got what they came for."

The Red Arrows earned their way to the Finals by beating another undefeated team, Marysville, in their Semifinal match. The Titans advanced to their first championship match by beating Niles in their Semifinal Saturday morning. 

The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard.

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PHOTOS: (Top) Lowell and Warren Woods Tower wrestlers work for control during Saturday’s Division 2 Final. (Middle) A Warren Woods Tower competitor defends against an attack by his Red Arrows opponent. (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.)