No Slowing Embree On 2nd Title Run

March 4, 2017

By Jeff Chaney
Special for Second Half

AUBURN HILLS – Warren Lincoln senior Jelani Embree is an explosive and powerful force on the wrestling mat, showing off his superb athleticism.

He showed he is also very smart on the mat, too.

Wrestling an unorthodox style by his standards, Embree won his second straight MHSAA championship by beating Dexter's Will Feldkamp 7-2 in their 189-pound championship match at the Division 2 Individual Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday.

Feldkamp did a solid job of slowing down the pace and explosiveness of Embree, and that was just fine with him.

"I knew going in that he would have a gameplan for me," said Embree, who completed his senior season with a 36-0 record. "I didn't know what it was, but when he decided to go 189, I knew he was training to beat me.

"I didn't take a lot of shots in that match where I usually do. But he was getting me in a front headlock situation. He was trying to slow me down."

It didn't work.


Champion: Chayse LaJoie, Gaylord, Fr. (52-3)
Decision, 3-2, over Riley Bettich, Stevensville-Lakeshore, Fr. (38-2)

LaJoie would have rather controlled his own destiny, but he did say he controlled the match.

LaJoie was awarded the 103-pound title when a stalling penalty point was awarded to him late.

"I felt like I brought the pressure most of the match," LaJoie said. "The stalling calls, that is a weird way to win, but I feel like it was definitely deserved. He was backing up and making sure I couldn't get into my offense. But I thought it was a good match."


Champion: Corey Gamet, Parma Western, Soph. (50-0)
Decision, 4-3, over Chaise Mayer, Warren Woods Tower, Soph. (51-2)

After winning an MHSAA title last season, it may have been a given that the bulls eye would have been on Gamet's back.

But he used reverse psychology in his match with Mayer.

"He was probably a little nervous, because he was the guy that beat me last year," Gamet said. "I'm positive he was saying to himself I can beat this guy, because I did it last year. It actually helped motivate me."

The psychology worked, as Gamet beat Mayer 4-3 in a tightly contested battle.

"I just kept following him and working his head, and eventually he got tired and gave up that late (two points)," Gamet said.


Champion: Branson Proudlock, Gibraltar Carlson, Jr. (53-0)
Decision, 6-3, over Austin Franco, Niles, Jr. (22-3)

An emotional Proudlock had a hard time catching his breath and calming his emotions after winning his first championship.

A lifetime of work and dedication was part of the emotion spilled out of him after his victory.

"There is no better feeling in the world than this," Proudlock said. "I have been training my whole life for this. Last year I took second, and I have been working the entire year to do this. This is the best feeling in life."

His runner-up finish in 2016 helped motivate him.

"This has been on my mind the last year," Proudlock said. "I worked hard for this."


Champion: Dominic LaJoie, Gaylord, Sr. (52-0)
Decision, 16-12, over Corbyn Munson, Chelsea, Jr. (52-3)

LaJoie won his third championship with an impressive offense that put up 16 points. But a less thrilled LaJoie reflected on the match that saw him give up 12 points to Munson.

"I felt like I dominated most of the match, but I kind of went for something at the end and then fell into a tilt and I was kind of mad," LaJoie said. "I have been really looking forward to this, and it was good to end my career with a state championship."

LaJoie said his loss in last year's Final helped get him ready for his senior season.

"That was disappointing at first; I shut down for two weeks," LaJoie said. "But then after that I used it as a motivating factor. I learned a lot about myself, and I used that to drive myself."

LaJoie won his third just three matches after his little brother won his first.

"I wasn't watching him because I was focusing on my match," LaJoie said. "But it's going to be pretty fun tonight with two brothers winning state championships."


Champion: Drew Marten, Tecumseh, Sr. (55-1)
Fall, 1:49, over Chris Fausen, Charlotte, Jr. (40-2)

Returning champion Marten found himself in an unfamiliar place at the start of his 130-pound match.

He was down 4-1.

But like any good champion, he gathered himself and went right after his opponent for a first-period pin and second title.

"I just got back on my offense after being down, got my shot in and turned him, which is what I do best," Marten said. "I threw in the chicken wing, that works in high school, but it won't work in college, so I have to fix that.”


Champion: Austin Boone, Lowell, Fr. (40-3)
Decision, 6-3, over Joshua Edmond, Orchard Lake St. Mary's, Fr. (53-1)

It was a battle of talented freshmen in the 135-pound Final, in a weight class that usually is dominated by upperclassmen.

But the two ninth graders put on a decent show, won by Boone over the previously undefeated Edmond.

Boone, who is used to wrestling on a big stage with a full offseason national schedule, said he was calm throughout his match.

"I think I have wrestled him before this, and it was a great match," Boone said. "I have great coaching. They told me what I had to do, and I went out and did that. Keep it close, because he likes to tie up and go for the outside double leg. And he almost got me with it a couple of times."


Champion: Luke Raczkowski, Parma Western, Sr. (56-3)
Major decision, 22-9, over Trent Lashuay, St. Johns, Sr. (32-7)

Raczkowski was expecting a little tighter match.

But he definitely will take what he earned.

Raczkowski put on an offensive display, winning his first Finals championship.

"That was crazy," Raczkowski said. "I did not expect to put 22 points on the board; I thought I would put about six. But my gameplan going into it, stop his little roll, which I did and he didn't have anything else for me so I kept going."


Champion: Austin O'Hearon, Eaton Rapids, Jr. (48-3)
Decision, 3-2 (2 OT), over Alec Rees, Sparta, Soph. (48-1)

O'Hearon proved that wrestling to the last second of every period is very important in his 145-pound championship match.

At the end of regulation, O'Hearon forced a penalty point on a stalling call, and then came back and reversed Rees in the second ride-out overtime for the win and championship.

"I have to thank my coaches for pushing me so hard in practice," O'Hearon said. "Without them, I wouldn't have been able to do that. And I have to thank my mom and my family; they are the reason I do this."


Champion: Bret Fedewa, St. Johns, Sr. (53-0)
Decision, 7-4, over Dustin Gross, Dearborn Heights Annapolis, Jr. (56-1)

Somebody had to lose.

A pair of undefeated wrestlers went at it for the 152-pound title Saturday night, and Fedewa came out on top.

That title kept a St. Johns streak alive, as now it has been nine straight years that the Redwings have had a champion.

"I wanted to continue the tradition at St. Johns," Fedewa said. "We have to have a state champ every year, at least one. And I wanted to continue that and keep it going."


Champion: Lucas McFarland, DeWitt, Sr. (54-2)
Decision 6-5, over Dylan Terrence, Flint Kearsley, Sr. (44-2)

McFarland had no idea he had just won a championship.

"I thought I only got the (two near-fall count) and we were going to go into overtime," McFarland said.

But he was awarded a three near-fall count, capping a comeback that saw him down 5-0 but walk off the mat victorious, 6-5.

"I had no idea I won," McFarland said. "I just kept pushing the pace, and I knew that he couldn't hang in there."


Champion: Nino Bastianelli, Marysville, Sr. (53-4)
Decision, 5-2, over Kane Williams, Clio, Sr. (20-5)

It's been a solid postseason for the Marysville wrestling team.

The Vikings made it through the regular season undefeated, advanced all the way to the Team Semifinals, and then on Saturday saw a champion crowned as Bastianelli beat Clio's Williams 5-2.

"This feels awesome, I just wrestled as hard as I could for all six minutes," Bastianelli said. "I was just trying to up the match, and see whatever happens, happens, and just have fun with it."


Champion: Nick Humphrey, Monroe Jefferson, Sr. (51-2)
Decision 3-2, over Elijah Boulton, Lowell, Sr. (40-4)

Humphrey rushed off the mat and jumped into his father Mike Humphrey's arms after winning the 215-pound championship with a tough 3-2 win.

"I have been waiting for that leap in my dad's arms for 14 years," Humphrey said.

And thanks to a late takedown, he earned the opportunity.

"I knew he wasn't going to do anything flashy," Humphrey said. "He is a solid wrestler, but he does a lot on defense and that made it hard to work my shot in that I was getting in my earlier matches. I got one, though, and that was enough."


Champion: Chase Beard, Allegan, Sr. (48-3)
Decision, 2-1, over Patrick DePiazza, Cedar Springs, Sr. (47-1)

Beard he knew he had to do something different.

Two weeks ago at Regionals, he lost a tight decision to DePiazza. And Saturday night, those two found themselves wresting for a heavyweight championship.

This time Beard got the best thanks to a stalling penalty point awarded to him late.

"I had to push the pace, because I didn't do it last time," Beard said. "At Regionals I stood up the whole match, didn't move. I knew I had to move this match, and I had to move him, because he wasn't doing anything on his feet. I knew he wasn't going to do anything, so I had to push him around."

Click for full brackets.

PHOTO: Warren Lincoln’s Jelani Embree (right) takes on Dexter's Will Feldkamp in a Division 2 Final at 189 pounds. (Click for more from

Bragging Rights for Both as Multi-Sport Sage Twins Shine at Ford Field

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

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 [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.)