Lowell Unstoppable Again as Title Streak Grows to 8
By Dan Stickradt
Special for Second Half
March 30, 2021
KALAMAZOO — Not even a pandemic and a shortened season can slow down Lowell.
At least in recent years.
The top-ranked and top-seeded Red Arrows extended their MHSAA record of consecutive Team Finals titles to eight with a resounding 59-7 victory over third-seeded Goodrich on Tuesday in the Division 2 championship match at Wings Arena.
“I can’t say enough about these kids,” said Lowell coach R.J. Boudro, who in his seven seasons as head coach has amassed an impressive 137-21 record. “Even in November, December and January when we weren’t wrestling and just waiting, they stuck together. We didn’t have any positive (COVID) tests. We worked hard and stuck together, and we’re able to win it again. It’s not easy. Winning one is not easy, let alone eight in a row.”
Lowell wasted no time in setting the tone, earning a pair of first-period pins for a 12-0 lead. Cole Huisman (140) earned a pin in only 29 seconds and William Link (145) followed suit by sticking his opponent to the mat in a mere 35 seconds.
Leading 35-0 through seven matches, Lowell 285-pounder
Keegan Nugent earned another pin in just 16 seconds to clinch the title for the Red Arrows (20-3).
“Effort,” beamed Nugent, who will also be shooting for an individual crown this weekend with a 27-0 record. “We have great effort as a team.
“It’s all about tradition and doing what you need to do to keep it going,” continued Nugent. “Not looking at what other people are doing, just working your butt off to contribute to the tradition.”
Overall, Lowell’s dominating effort resulted in wins in 12 of the 14 weight classes. The Red Arrows collected six pins, three decisions, two victories by technical fall and one major decision.
The title is not only the eighth straight for the powerful Red Arrows, it gives Lowell its 11th Finals title over the past 20 seasons. Tuesday also marked Lowell’s 17th appearance in the Division 2 Final over 23 years. The Red Arrows are 11-6 in title bouts dating back to 1999.
“It’s hard to put it all into words, especially this year,” said Boudro. “We have so much support from the parents, administration. So many people help out. It’s a special community.
“You know I kept having anxiety every day because I kept hearing about teams withdrawing from the tournament because of positive tests,” continued Boudro. “My heart sank every time. But it goes back to us staying healthy and being able to come out here and accomplish this. These kids did everything right, everything that was asked of them.”
Goodrich (18-1) slipped to 2-4 all-time in Finals matches, including losing to Lowell in 2019 (29-23) in the title bout. The Martians came in unbeaten on the season but couldn’t muster much against the state’s premier Division 2 program.
“They’ve knocked us out three times now since 2016,” said Goodrich coach Ken Sirignano, whose team was also defeated by Lowell in the Semifinals five years ago. “Lowell is a fantastic program; they are really tough. There’s not much to say other than they have a great team. They just beat us up today. We just have to get better.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Lowell and Goodrich locked up in Tuesday’s Division 2 Final. (Middle) A Red Arrows winner celebrates a match victory against the Martians. (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.
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.)