New Lothrop Ends Championship Wait
February 22, 2014
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
BATTLE CREEK – Taylor Krupp wasn’t worried as he watched New Lothrop teammates fall by two, three and five-point decisions during Saturday’s MHSAA Division 4 Team Wrestling Final at Kellogg Arena.
He was just waiting for his turn to shine.
Similarly, his team had been waiting for Saturday's opportunity. The Hornets watched Hudson build on an MHSAA-record five-season championship streak over the last three years, but never got to take on the Tigers in a Final, having fallen in three straight Semifinals that all came down to their final matches.
Finally Saturday, the Hornets and Krupp advanced to a championship face-off with the Tigers. And Krupp’s pin at 160 pounds keyed a comeback 33-22 win that gave New Lothrop is first MHSAA title since 2004.
“We always wanted to wrestle Hudson. The last five years they’ve been on top of the mountain, and it’s always been a goal,” Krupp said. “We wrestled Hesperia, wrestled Carson City … but we always wanted to wrestle Hudson. We finally got to wrestle, and we’re glad with how it turned out.”
Hudson last season tied Davison’s record of five straight MHSAA team titles won from 2002-06 and entered Saturday afternoon with a third straight senior class that had never finished lower than first in Finals competition.
New Lothrop, meanwhile, carried a banner during Saturday’s pre-Finals “Grand March” that displayed the years of all 12 Hornets team titles – 11 on the left side and only 2004 on the right, looking almost like it was added there in anticipation of more soon to come.
That date finally will have company.
Hudson built a 22-10 lead with only five matches left, but it was not enough to carry the Tigers through the Hornets' strongest weights. Senior Josh Wendling at 152 pounds started a run of five straight New Lothrop wins to finish the match.
New Lothrop’s closing run was not without some well-calculated strategy on the part of coach Jeff Campbell. He could’ve left undefeated Krupp wrestling at 171 like he had in the Semifinal and will next weekend at the Individual Finals, and gotten some sure wins – but didn’t feel that lineup would add up to enough points to overtake the Tigers.
Instead, he wrestled Krupp at 160, followed with sophomore Caleb Symons at 171 and then continued with 189-pounder Cody Symons. Krupp got the pin, Caleb Symons – with only about 25 matches to his credit this season – got a major decision to put the Hornets ahead, and Cody Symons followed with another pin to guarantee the championship.
“The job Caleb Symons has been doing in practice, we decided this was the way we wanted to go a couple weeks ago. He’s really earned the chance to go and gave us the confidence to do that,” Campbell said. “He’s kinda been our secret weapon.”
Total, New Lothrop won at eight weights. Freshman Connor Krupp (103), junior Dalton Birchmeier (125), sophomore Steven Garza II (135) and senior Owen Wilson (215) also added points into the Hornets’ team total.
But some losses also were wins. New Lothrop freshman Erik Birchmeier did fall to reigning MHSAA Individual Finals champion JD Waters by major decision – but avoided a pin. Senior Aaron Bauman fell to Hudson two-time individual champion Cole Weaver, but only 4-1. Sophomore Cole Hersch fell to 2013 individual runner-up Isaac Dusseau, but only 3-1.
“Hudson obviously is a great team, but if you wrestle your game, anything can happen. And that was a perfect example,” Krupp said. “Me, Cody, (we) didn’t win us the match. What won us the match were the guys who stayed off their backs and didn’t give up bonus points.”
Nine of the Division 4 Final’s matches pitted Individual Finals qualifiers. Three matches remained scoreless after the first round.
Seniors Weaver, Waters and Dusseau all wrestled in their fourth team championship matches for Hudson, all also part of the lineup during their freshman season of 2011.
“I’m always proud of them, win, lose or draw. These boys have tasted victory; now they’ve tasted defeat,” Hudson coach Scott Marry said. “That builds character for later on. They’re going to have to pick themselves up and they’re going to have to act like classy young men now.
“You can’t always win. Now it’s the other side of the fence. It’s OK.”
Hudson, top-ranked entering the postseason and top seeded going into this weekend, finished 35-5 and will have 14 participants at next weekend’s Individual Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
New Lothrop, ranked No. 2 and the second seed, finished 31-1 with its only loss by five to Lowell – which beat St. Johns to win Division 2 on Saturday.
The Hornets have 13 Individual Finals qualifiers and have made the MHSAA Team Quarterfinals all 13 seasons under Campbell.
“Jeff Campbell is the classiest guy I’ve ever met,” Marry said. “If there’s anybody in the state who I would want to have the state title if it wasn’t my kids, I’d want it to be Jeff Campbell. I’m so happy for him and his program.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Taylor Krupp has his hand raised in victory after a pin in his 160-pound match during Saturday’s Division 4 Final. (Middle) Hudson coach Scott Marry (left) and New Lothrop coach Jeff Campbell shake hands after the Hornets' victory. (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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.)