Massa Finishes with Final Flourish
March 7, 2015
By Jeff Chaney
Special for Second Half
AUBURN HILLS – Logan Massa threw three fingers in the air, and then did a backflip to near perfection on the floor of The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The three fingers were a symbol of the third championship he just won at the MHSAA Individual Wrestling Finals on Saturday.
The flip was to show the crowd just how athletic this University of Michigan-bound wrestler is, and why he is considered by many as the best wrestler in the state at any weight in any division.
Massa pinned Manuel Roldan of Melvindale in four minutes, 41 seconds in their 171-pound championship match in Division 2. That now makes seven MHSAA Finals titles in the Massa family, as older brother Taylor Massa was a four-time champion and now wrestles at Michigan.
Logan said Taylor played a big part in his success.
“It is awesome to have a big brother like Taylor,” Massa said. “He is the best to have. He was a four-time undefeated state champ, and he knows what it’s like to be here. Whenever I was down on myself in the practice room, he would always help me get through it.”
What also helped Logan Massa get through the past three title runs was a tough loss in the Finals to Ada Forest Hills Eastern’s Tim Lambert when Massa was a freshman.
“I came here my freshman year and fell a little short, so I had to pick it up in the practice room,” Massa said. “That helped me get three more. (Lambert) was the best wrestler you could wrestle in the state that year, and I was only a freshman, so that could only help me get better.”
Champion: Cameron Mahlich, Ionia, Soph. (39-2)
Decision, 4-3, over Trevor Giallombardo, Gaylord, Jr. (27-3)
Mahlich jumped into his coach’s arms, then sprinted to the stands after winning the 103-pound title with a tight 4-3 win.
Mahlich wanted to pay respect to his father, Greg Mahlich, who has played a big part in his career to this point.
“He knew whatever happened, he would be happy with me because I was in a state championship match,” Mahlich said. “All throughout MYWAY (Michigan's Youth Wrestling Association), it's been a goal to see me win it here, so he was extremely happy.”
And Mahlich's growth not only happened with his wrestling, but also his stature.
“Last year I was a small 103-pounder, and I ended up taking eighth,” Mahlich said. “Last year I Alpha (weighed in) at 96 pounds, so I was pretty small.”
Champion: Dominic LaJoie, Gaylord, Soph. (37-2)
Decision, 14-10, over Austin Franco, Stevensville-Lakeshore, Fr. (49-1)
LaJoie knew his opponent in their 112-pound final – highly-touted freshman Franco, who came into the Finals with a perfect 49-0 record.
But LaJoie had something Franco wanted, an MHSAA title won last year at 103 pounds. And that experience helped him beat the talented freshman 14-10 in the title match at 112.
“I knew I had more experience, and he's a freshman now knowing what to expect,” Lajoie said. “I just took it to him.
“Winning this second one was definitely harder, because there is more pressure on you. But you have to overcome that.”
Champion: Lucas Hall, Lowell, Jr. (39-1)
Major decision, 14-0, over Noah Schoenherr Bay City Western, Soph. (51-6)
Lowell junior Lucas Hall was another wrestler with a bull's eye on his back, after winning a title at 112 pounds last year.
But Hall didn't let that get in the way.
“Last year's (championship) panned out with a pin,” Hall said. “I went into this match giving him a lot of credit. I just wrestled my match. I don't try and think about (being a returning champion), I just try and keep a clear mind and wrestle. I wrestle each match as its own, and move on to the next one.”
Champion: Ian Parker, St. Johns, Jr. (39-2)
Decision, 7-1, over Jacob Busing, Byron Center, Sr. (41-5)
Parker knows how to work hard. He also knows what winning is about.
As a wrestler for St. Johns, Parker has seen many teammates win MHSAA Finals titles, and has been on teams that have won as well.
Now he has an individual championship of his own, beating Byron Center's Jacob Busing 7-1 in the 125-pound title match.
“This feels amazing, there is nothing like it,” Parker said. “It feels great because you work so hard, and when it all comes through, it feels great.
“Working with guys on my team, learning what they know and working hard with them, that helped me today. Many have experienced this, and know what to do, and that helped me.”
Champion: Zeth Dean, Lowell, Jr. (38-3)
Decision, 8-3, over Luke Raczkowski, Parma Western, Soph. (52-2)
Zeth Dean watched his cousins Gabe and Max Dean win MHSAA championships for Lowell, and now adds his own to the Dean family legacy.
“This is exciting,” Zeth Dean said. “Being at a place like Lowell, you are born and raised watching kids win state titles, and that's all you want to do. That's your only goal. That's why you go to practice when you are in second and third grade, is to win a state championship.”
Dean came close as a freshman, taking second at 112. Last year he wrestled with an injured knee and took fifth.
Champion: Jaedin Sklapsky, Eaton Rapids, Sr. (56-2)
Decision, 7-4, over Chase Veydt, Parma Western, Jr. (46-8)
Sklapsky knows how it is to be close to a title but to just miss out.
Last year he was a runner-up at the Individual Finals, and last week his Eaton Rapids teammates took second to Lowell in the Division 2 Team Final.
He finally has a championship.
“Down in Battle Creek we all went for bonus points, but at individual coach tells us to just get your hand raised,” Sklapsky said. “Do whatever you can to get your hand raised.”
Sklapsky had to be a little worried, as Veydt came into their match off of one of the biggest upsets in the tournament, beating Clio's Mason Smith, a two-time reigning champ, in the Quarterfinals on Friday.
“I had confidence I could beat everybody,” Sklapsky said.
Champion: Austin Thompson, Marysville, Sr. (50-1)
Decision, 7-5, over Austin Melton, Dewitt, Jr. (41-5)
It was a battle of returning champions at 140 pounds. Thompson was superior technically on this day, beating Melton 7-5 in a hard-fought contest.
“I knew it was going to be a battle,” Thompson said. “He is a tough wrestler. I wrestled him at the Grappler Fall Classic and beat him 10-8. So I knew it was going to be a battle, two good kids going at it. I knew what I had to do to get the job done.”
Champion: Chris Schoenherr, Bay City Western, Sr. (58-2)
Decision, 3-1, over Brandon Garcia, Riverview, Jr. (55-4).
After watching his younger brother lose in the Finals earlier Saturday evening, Chris Schoenherr went out and won the family a championship.
“We knew my brother was going in wrestling a really tough kid, and I know Noah always does his best,” Chris Schoenherr said. “But I knew I couldn't dwell too much on his match. As soon as I was done watching his match, I made sure I was ready mentally for mine.”
Champion: Connor Myers, St. Joseph, Sr. (30-0)
Decision, 7-4, over Khannor Kaercher, Warren Lincoln, Sr. (52-2)
At the start of the year, Myers wasn't in wrestling shape.
That's because he got a late start to his season after suffering a broken right hand during football in the fall.
But Myers got in wrestling shape during the dog days of the wrestling season in January and capped of his senior campaign with an undefeated record and MHSAA title.
“It was hard coming back into the season. I was out of shape,” Myers said. “I started out at 160, but those guys were just too big, then I finally made 152 and got in shape to do this.”
Champion: Logan Ritchie, New Boston Huron, Sr. (58-1)
Technical fall, 5:54, over Jaxon Smith, Byron Center, Sr. (43-6)
Ritchie made his second MHSAA title run look easy.
In his four matches at The Palace this weekend, he won two by major decision and two by technical fall.
“Last year I came into this tournament with a goal to win it, and this year I came in with a goal to dominate,” Ritchie said. “I definitely felt more pressure this year, but I knew I could do it.”
Champion: Ty Wildmo, St. Johns, Sr. (40-3)
Decision, 1-0, over Tristan Gregory, Gaylord, Sr. (38-4)
Wildmo had the clock and a bad right ankle working against him in his 189-championship match.
But he dug down deep enough to beat Gregory with an escape with one second left.
“That's exactly what I was thinking heading into this match; wrestle six minutes,” Wildmo said. “I heard my ankle pop with about 30 seconds left, but I kept wrestling and working. Three two-minute goes.”
Champion: Josh Colegrove, Lowell, Sr. (40-0)
Fall, 1:35, over Clayton Higelmire, Eaton Rapids, Jr. (45-7)
Colegrove was just as impressive winning his second title as he was winning his first last year.
And the Lowell senior also was just as humble and grateful.
“This feels great, to come back my senior year and win,” Colegrove said. “Being at Lowell has been really good to me. If I wasn't at Lowell I wouldn't have all the great workout partners I do that helped me get here. This has been a really great place for me, and I love it.”
Champion: Dallas Recker, Three Rivers, Sr. (50-2)
Fall, 2:45, over Isaiah Espinoza, Adrian, Jr. (18-7)
Last year Dallas Recker fell just minutes short of qualifying for the Finals, losing in the 'Blood Round' at Regionals.
He made the most of his first trip to The Palace this year, pinning his way to a title.
“This feels pretty good,” Recker said. “I never expected to pin my way through the tournament. But I am quite happy that I did.”
PHOTO: St. Johns’ Logan Massa works toward a pin in his Division 2 championship match at 171 pounds. (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.)