Lowell Breaks Tie, Regains D2 Title
February 22, 2014
By Greg Chrapek
Special to Second Half
BATTLE CREEK – To say every point was worth its weight in gold would not be much of an overstatement for Lowell Red Arrows during its MHSAA Division 2 Team Final against four-time defending champion St. Johns on Saturday.
In a dual that ended in a 34-34 deadlock, the Red Arrows ended up with the championship trophy as they won the dual on the fifth criteria – or tie-breaker – total six-point wins.
The victory gave Lowell its first MHSAA Finals team title since 2009 and sent veteran coach Dave Dean out with the second title during his tenure.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” said Dean, who earlier this season accepted the position as head of the Olympic Development Program at Cornell University. “Right now I’m just feeling so happy for my kids and staff. They worked so hard for this. I might think about what it means to me later, but right now I’m so happy for the kids.”
The phrase `total team effort’ can sometimes be overused. But in the case of Lowell it was truly the deciding factor.
The final match was at 215 pounds, and Lowell senior Garrett Stehley won by disqualification. Stehley needed a six-point win to tie the dual and create a situation where the winner came down to criteria.
“I just went out there to wrestle,” Stehley said. “I knew if I just go out there and wrestle and not think about a pin or anything that something would open up.”
Stehley kept the pressure on the entire match, and after a succession of stalling warnings on his opponent, won the six-point disqualification.
For Stehley and the other Lowell seniors, the MHSAA title ended three years of frustration against their rivals from down the road on M-21. St. Johns had ended Lowell’s seasons the past three years, including the last two in MHSAA Finals.
“We’ve been here every year, and it has come down to us and St. Johns,” Stehley said. “We knew what we had to do. Everybody knew what they had to do.”
What the Red Arrows needed more than anything was to win as many points as possible while giving up as few as possible in matches they lost.
“It was a point here and a point there, and it all added up,” Dean said. “In the end everybody contributed. Every match was big. (Dan) Kruse not getting pinned against Zac Hall was big. Everybody stepped up.”
Dean’s son, sophomore Max Dean, also did his part. Going up junior Angus Arthur, a returning MHSAA individual champion, Max Dean gave up only three team points as he dropped an 8-6 decision.
“I just wanted to give (Arthur) the worst six minutes of his life,” Max Dean said. “I knew the pressure was on. This (team title) means everything. This is what we’ve been working for.”
Both teams won seven matches during the dual that went back and forth from beginning to end. The deciding factor was six-point wins (earned by pins or disqualification), and Lowell had four while St. Johns recorded three.
Lucas Hall (103 pounds), Jordan Hall (135) and Kanon Dean (171) earned pins while Stehley earned the disqualification.
St. Johns received pins from Ian Parker (112), Drew Wixson (152) and Logan Massa (160).
“I feel sad for the guys, but hats off to Lowell,” St. Johns coach Derek Phillips said. “They wrestled a great match. Our guys have a lot to be proud of. They were the ones who put in all the blood, sweat and tears. At the end of the day we are still second in the state.”
St. Johns had crucial wins of its own. The Redwings grabbed the early momentum when Ty Wildmo won an 8-4 decision against Josh Colegrove in the first match of the dual at 285 pounds.
The two teams traded pins in the next two matches with Lucas Hall winning at 103 pounds for Lowell and Ian Parker winning at 112 for St. Johns.
At 119 pounds, Zeth Dean, brother of Kanon and Max’s cousin, won a major decision putting Lowell up 10-9. The Red Arrows then methodically added to the lead with decisions from seniors Derek Krajewski (125) and Bailey Jack (130).
For those seniors, the win over St. Johns was extra sweet.
“I can’t describe this feeling,” Jack said. “It’s surreal. It’s better then winning individual state last year. Winning individual state is nothing compared to this.”
Jordan Hall’s pin at 135 put Lowell up 22-9, but the lead was short-lived as St. Johns came roaring back. Senior Zac Hall, a three-time individual champion who will be looking to win a fourth straight next weekend, won by technical fall at 140 pounds. Mark Bozzo added a technical fall at 145 pounds to trim the Lowell lead to 22-19.
St. Johns then surged ahead when Drew Wixson (152) and Logan Massa (160) came through with pins giving the Redwings a 31-22 lead.
With their backs against the wall, Kanon Dean came through with his pin at 171 to bring the Red Arrows to within three points at 31-28.
Arthur followed with his decision against Max Dean at 189, putting St. Johns up by three points. That set the stage for Stehley coming through with the deciding final six points.
“We were on a mission,” Stehley said. “We want to send the seniors out with a win and we wanted to send Coach Dean out on top.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Lowell wrestlers celebrate their first MHSAA team championship since 2009. (Middle) A Lowell wrestler focuses on his St. Johns opponent during Saturday’s match. (Click to see more at 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.)