Performance: Tri-County's Dakota Greer

March 9, 2018

Dakota Greer
Howard City Tri-County wrestling - Senior

Greer capped his high school wrestling career Saturday at Ford Field with a third Division 3 championship, winning a 9-2 decision over Montrose’s Reese Wallis in the title match to finish this season 43-2 and earn the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

The champion at 119 as a junior and 103 as a freshman, Greer finished 174-6 for his career with 86 pins, and despite missing the end of his sophomore season. He injured his thumb late that winter, and despite making the attempt at his Individual District tournament, was unable to continue competing. That ended up taking him out of the running for four individual titles, but still left him among the elite who have wrestled in this state. 

Greer followed the influence of cousins Dillen and Darren Decker into the sport – the 2015 Carson City-Crystal graduates both were MHSAA finalists for the Eagles, and Dillen was a champion as a senior before both went on to wrestle at Heidelberg University in Ohio. Greer also plays baseball – pitcher and centerfield – and is considering a variety of college options and opportunities to continue wrestling at that level. If he doesn’t wrestle, he’s leaning toward Ferris State University; regardless of where he’s headed next, Greer would like to study forestry, criminal justice to become a conservation officer, or heating and cooling.

Coach Corey Renner said:Dakota told me about when he was a youth wrestler, getting beat by the same kids all the time, until one year he ‘decided not to lose anymore.’ So he started working harder, trying to learn more, etc., and his ability took off from there. Dakota has practiced so much that his moves just seem to happen without a lot of conscious thought, more like a reflex. He is also very good at reading his opponent and finding weaknesses in a short amount of time. … Dakota seems to be able to see things from a coach’s point of view, and he is good at helping get other kids to buy into what we are trying to do. Dakota doesn't ever expect anything; he knows that success is earned every day and that past success doesn't guarantee anything or allow you any "slack.”  I think that when Dakota had the injury his sophomore year, he approached it with the same attitude as when he was a little kid – just work hard and do all the things that helped lead to success before to try to get back to where he was.”

Performance Point: “It was more of a relief than anything to finally get it done,” Greer said of winning the third title. “All the things leading up to it, all the work. Getting the two before, you’re kinda expected to win it, so it’s nice to get out there and get it done. … Coming into my freshman year, I wasn’t sure how good I would be or what I could become. What I’ve done is what I’ve dreamed of doing, but I didn’t know if I could or not. After I got the first one, I knew I was capable of it. It was just a matter of making it happen.”

On the attack: “I started to see a lot of cases where kids were coming at me with a bunch of weird, different techniques defending my offense. This year I was focusing on how to still attack and find out ways to get around that. If they’re going to block one thing, find another way to attack.”

No regret: “(Missing the 2016 Finals) doesn’t bother me too much. I can’t worry about things like that. I’m not going to sit here and say I would’ve done something; you never know unless you do it. It was a very tough bracket that year – any of those kids could’ve beaten me. … (But) I think it was a huge part of me coming back as strong as I did. It drove me.”

Cousin connection: “The reason I started wrestling was because of my cousins. I always looked up to them and wanted to wrestle because of them. They used to live here right by us, and they wrestled when they were younger and I always looked up to them and wanted to do what they were doing. I started when I was 3, and from then on is history. They were down (at Ford Field) watching me wrestle; they’ve been huge support.”

Gotta get outside: “I just love everything about it. I love nature, being outside, all the great things and activities. (This fall) I got a couple deer. This whole winter, I run hunting dogs, beagles, so I raise and train them and hunt rabbits with those. I have my own fishing boat, and I do bow fishing and bass fishing and all that stuff during the summer. It’s basically my whole life besides wrestling and school.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2017-18 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Previous 2017-18 honorees:
March 1: Camree' Clegg, Wayne Memorial basketball - Read
February 23: Aliah Robertson, Sault Ste. Marie swimming - Read
February 16: Austin O'Hearon, Eaton Rapids wrestling - Read
February 9: Sophia Wiard, Muskegon Oakridge basketball - Read
February 2: Brenden Tulpa, Hartland hockey - Read
January 25: Brandon Whitman, Dundee wrestling - Read
January 18: Derek Maas, Holland West Ottawa swimming - Read
January 11: Lexi Niepoth, Bellaire basketball - Read
November 30: La'Darius Jefferson, Muskegon football - Read
November 23: Ashley Turak, Farmington Hills Harrison swimming - Read
November 16: Bryce Veasley, West Bloomfield football - Read 
November 9: Jose Penaloza, Holland soccer - Read
November 2: Karenna Duffey, Macomb L'Anse Creuse North cross country - Read
October 26: Anika Dy, Traverse City Central golf - Read
October 19: Andrew Zhang, Bloomfield Hills tennis - Read
October 12: Nolan Fugate, Grand Rapids Catholic Central football - Read
October 5: Marissa Ackerman, Munising tennis - Read
September 28: Minh Le, Portage Central soccer - Read
September 21: Olivia Theis, Lansing Catholic cross country - Read
September 14: Maddy Chinn, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Howard City Tri-County's Dakota Greer (left) works to gain control during his championship match Saturday. (Middle) Greer celebrates with the Ford Field crowd after clinching his third MHSAA individual wrestling title. (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 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.)