Preview: Dundee Again Paces Powerful D3 Contenders
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 29, 2021
Forget for a minute that Dundee on Tuesday will attempt to win a fourth-straight MHSAA Finals championship for the second time in the program’s illustrious history.
Consider first the relative strength of the Division 3 field as this season comes to a close.
Four of seven competing teams are undefeated or have lost only once during this abbreviated season. Combined those seven have 67 qualifiers for the Individual Finals – or nearly 10 per team.
Back to Dundee. The Vikings will travel to Kalamazoo looking to match the 1995-98 teams’ string of four Finals titles, the first of that of that run coming in Class C-D followed by three in Division 4.
Division 3 Quarterfinals – matchups below – begin at 12:30 p.m. at Wings Event Center’s Valley, with Semifinals at 3 p.m. and the championship match at 6.
Division 3 - 12:30 pm - The Valley
#1 Dundee - BYE - Mat 3
#4 Richmond vs. #5 Montrose - Mat 4
#3 Alma vs. #6 Freeland - Mat 1
#2 Whitehall vs. #7 Hart - Mat 2
(Constantine opted out.)
Spectator limits remain in effect, but all matches will be broadcast live and viewable with subscription on MHSAA.tv. Below is a look at all eight teams competing in Division 3, listed by seed.
Record/rank: 17-1, No. 1
League finish: First in Lenawee County Athletic Association
Coach: Tim Roberts, 22nd season (555-76-1)
Championship history: Twelve MHSAA championships (most recent 2020), seven runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Kade Kluce (12-2) fr., 112 Braeden Davis (21-0) soph., 119 Kaden Chinavare (18-0) soph., 119 Kyle Smith (12-2) jr., 125 Logan Sander (13-1) jr., 130 Trey Parker (14-3) fr., 135 Aiden Davis (21-1) soph., 140 Austin Fietz (20-2) sr., 145 Casey Swiderski (22-0) jr., 160 Tyler Swiderski (21-1) sr., 171 Nic Bellaire (7-4) sr., 171 Dominick Lomazzo (17-3) sr., 189 Stoney Buell (21-0) sr.
Outlook: Dundee is favored to extend its Division 3 championship streak to four, and returns with nine starters from last season’s lineup leading the way. Buell this weekend will attempt to become the 29th four-time Individual Finals champion in MHSAA history after winning at 160 a year ago. He’s one of six returning individual champions, along with Braeden Davis (103), Fietz (130), Casey Swiderski (135), Tyler Swiderski (145) and Lomazzo (152), while Chinavare (112) earned a third place and Aiden Davis (125) was a runner-up. Among Dundee’s dual wins this season were bouts over Division 4 top seed Clinton and Division 2 top seed Lowell.
Record/rank: 25-1, No. 3
League finish: First in West Michigan Conference
Co-coaches: Justin Zeerip, third season; Collin Zeerip, third season (72-6)
Championship history: Class C runner-up 1984.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 112 Ty Whalen (20-3) sr., 119 Matthew Goodrich (23-6) sr., 140 Max Brown (29-1) jr., 145 Marco Moore (28-3) sr., 152 Nicholas Blanchard (25-5) jr., 152 Alec Pruett (11-4) jr., 160 Jacob Haynes (25-4) sr., 171 Connor Young (25-5) sr., 189 Kris Dowdell (190-8) sr., 215 Ira Jenkins (31-0) jr., 285 Shane Cook (27-2) soph.
Outlook: After missing the Quarterfinals last season in Division 2, Whitehall is back in Division 3 and headed to the Quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years and seeking at least a fourth Semifinal berth during this run. The Vikings will bring an experienced lineup, with 12 of 14 expected starters upperclassmen. Brown finished third in Division 2 at 130 last season, and Jenkins was fifth at 171.
Record/rank: 21-3, No. 2
League finish: First in Tri-Valley Conference
Coach: Randy Miniard, 10th season (233-98)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final
Individual Finals qualifiers: 119 Dominic Anguiano (24-3) sr., 125 Gianni Tripp (24-6) soph., 140 Solomon Rosales (23-5) sr., Dametrius Castillo (24-4) sr., 160 Jacob Munger (22-4) jr., 171 Cole O’Boyle (22-4) fr.
Outlook: The Panthers earned the third seed of the second-straight season, and eliminated No. 7 Portland in the Regional Final to advance. Alma is graduating only three after this season and could another valuable building block with a nice run Tuesday. Castillo, the Division 3 champion at 119 as a freshman, also was runner-up last season at 135, while Rosales was fourth at 130 in 2020.
Record/rank: 9-0, No. 4
League finish: First in Blue Water Area Conference
Co-coaches: Brandon Day, 17th season (487-99), Preston Treend, fifth season (105-15)
Championship history: Eight MHSAA championships (most recent 2017), eight runner-up finishes
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Emmet Kettel (10-1) sr., 112 Noah Harris (11-1) soph., 119 Hunter Keller (10-1) sr., 140 Austin Bergeon (7-3) jr., 160 Gavin Resk (5-1) sr., 171 Kevin McKiernan (8-1) jr., 189 Regan Rewalt (5-2) sr., 189 Wesley Peters (11-1) jr., 215 Eddie Olson (22-2) soph., 285 Dan McKiernan (10-0) sr.
Outlook: Richmond has wrestled in 10 of the last 11 Division 3 Finals and finished runner-up the last three seasons. The Blue Devils have more freshman (five) than seniors (four) in Tuesday’s expected starting lineup, but have continued to roll including downing No. 8 Algonac during this postseason run. Keller is a two-time individual runner-up, including at 112 last season. Also placing last season were Harris (eighth at 103), Peters (third at 171) and McKiernan (fifth at 285).
Record/rank: 12-1, No. 5
League finish: No league title awarded this season.
Coach: Jason Perrin, fourth season (62-35)
Championship history: Nine MHSAA championships (most recent 2005), five runner-up finishes.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Thor Robbins (11-3) jr., 112 Hunter Coxon (14-4) soph., 119 Seth Coffin (13-3) jr., 125 Aidan Bernard (14-1) jr., 130 Jake Elasivich (15-1) sr., 145 Blake Greenman (14-4) jr., 152 Ty Emmendorfer (15-4) jr., 189 Cody Smith (14-3) jr., 285 Levi Harber (15-1) jr., 285 Aden Viar (7-2) jr.
Outlook: After what had been more than a decade away from the Quarterfinals, Montrose these days is making a third-straight trip and reached the Semifinals a year ago. A young lineup last season now boasts 11 upperclassmen among the expected 14 starters. Harber was third at 215 last season, while Bernard was third at 125 and senior Bobby Skinner (135, 14-2) was seventh at 152.
Record/rank: 19-3, unranked
League finish: Second in Tri-Valley Conference
Coach: Ryan Fournier, first season (19-3)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Noah Graham (19-2) fr., 112 Gibby Shepard (16-6) fr., 130 Tyler Tomasek (21-4) sr., 135 Wilson Longnecker (15-5) jr., 135 Cayden Remainder (15-6) soph., 140 Cole Fourier (21-3) jr., 160 Nolan VanLoo (22-4) sr.
Outlook: Freeland is making its second appearance at the Quarterfinals – the first was in 2004 – and possibly setting itself up for a quicker return next time with seven freshmen and only two seniors among Tuesday’s projected starters. Another noticeable stride for the program will be noticed more this weekend; VanLoo was Freeland’s only Individual Finals qualifier in 2020 but will be joined by six teammates this time. The Falcons downed No. 10 Remus Chippewa Hills in the Regional Final.
Record/rank: 26-4, No. 6
League finish: Second in West Michigan Conference
Coach: Brad Altland, ninth season (247-90)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Individual Finals qualifiers: 103 Bryce Jorissen (22-12) soph., 112 Trenton Swihart (29-7) soph., 119 Trayce Tate (23-4) soph., 125 Austin Martinez (18-11) fr., 130 Spencer Vanderzwaaag (29-3) sr., 135 Chance Alvesteffer (30-4) jr., 145 Mason Cantu (30-2) jr., 160 Thomas Tanner (29-5) sr., 189 Leo Guadarrama (32-2) jr., 285 Braeden Carskadon (26-10) sr.
Outlook: After making the Quarterfinals last season for just the second time, in Division 4, Hart has equaled the feat despite facing larger opponents in Division 3. The Pirates defeated No. 9 Kingsley in the Regional Semifinal to highlight this trip. Cantu finished individual runner-up at 135 in Division 4 last season, while Tate was fourth at 112, Alvesteffer was fifth at 130 and Tanner was eighth at 152.
PHOTO: Dundee’s Aiden Davis (right) and Montrose’s Aidan Bernard face off during last season’s Division 3 Semifinals. (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 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.)