Lowell Stretches Record Finals Streak to 10 in claiming 13th Title Overall

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

February 25, 2023

KALAMAZOO – It’s been a decade of dominance for the Lowell wrestling team.

The Red Arrows secured their 10th-consecutive Division 2 Finals championship Saturday with a 42-18 win over Goodrich at Wings Event Center.

“It’s amazing, and I can’t really put it into words,” Lowell coach R.J. Boudro said. “One is a feat in itself, and to win a state championship is special. For our guys to do it 10 years in a row … these seniors were in third grade the last time we didn't win a state championship. It’s crazy.”

The title also was the 13th overall for the Red Arrows.

“It’s a special thing, and we have a special community,” Boudro said. “Our coaching staff is second to none, and we just really like the sport and working with these kids.”

Freshmen Cody Foss (113) and Logan Dawson (126), and sophomore Jackson Blum (132) all recorded pins at their respective weight classes in helping lift Lowell to a commanding 28-3 advantage. 

“It was amazing to come out the way we did, and some of our young guys stepped up big,” Boudro said.

Goodrich’s James Mahon, right, works against Lowell’s Juan Acosta for a 2-1 decision at 285. Senior newcomer CJ Poole, who was on the team for the first time, won his match at 144 by major decision 17-7 to end his high school career. Poole moved to Lowell from Ohio and hadn’t been a part of a program of this caliber.

“My team wasn’t a good dual team, so to come from not winning a lot to winning a lot of duals was pretty cool,” Poole said. “I’ve never been a part of a state championship-winning team, so it’s pretty big.

“The atmosphere was pretty cool, and this is my first time being here and my last.”

Poole quickly realized the tradition of the program.

“I knew about the Dean family, and I was definitely excited to be part of this program and a state champion as a team,” Poole said. “Lowell has been good forever, and what RJ does is insane. Coming here for only one year, I feel like I got a lot better.”

The second-ranked Martians (32-1) came into the Finals unbeaten, but couldn’t end the unprecedented run by the Red Arrows.

It was the sixth runner-up finish overall for Goodrich.

“We’ve been state runner-up to them four of the last five years, and it’s frustrating,” Martians coach Kenneth Sirignano said. “We knew what we were up against, and we knew it was going to be a big challenge.

“I think we could’ve had a few matches go differently, but our kids competed hard. We are just maybe not there skill-wise, and that’s what we have to work on.”

Lowell advanced with wins over Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice in the Quarterfinal and Gaylord in the Semifinal. Goodrich reached Saturday afternoon by defeating Monroe Jefferson and Plainwell.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Lowell’s Carter Cichocki, left, and Goodrich’s Ethan Garza lock up at 120 pounds. (Middle) Goodrich’s James Mahon, right, works against Lowell’s Juan Acosta at 285. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

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 keithdunlap78@gmail.com 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.)