Red Arrows Find Target Again with Record Win
March 14, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Lowell wrestling has had more to celebrate than most teams over the last six winters.
But something a little extra has accompanied the buzz after the Red Arrows won their record sixth-straight MHSAA Finals team championship Feb. 23 at Wings Events Center.
The Division 2 back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back champion edged Goodrich 29-23 to surpass Davison 2002-06 and Hudson 2009-13 for the longest championship streak since the team match format was added to the Finals lineup in 1988.
People ask for the secret. Lowell coach R.J. Boudro isn’t sure where to start.
“It’s not one thing; it’s so many things,” Boudro said. “It’s hard work across all levels – coaching staff, obviously the wrestlers, and parents and community and administration, and our youth wrestling program is extremely strong.
“When it’s all said and done, the Lowell wrestling program is something we’re all willing to give ourselves too. We’re all better because of the Lowell wrestling program, so it’s a win-win. Whether it’s a fundraiser, reading to young kids, there are so many things people don’t see. It’s pretty cool to be a part of, and there are a lot of people willing to sacrifice to make it successful.”
Lowell is the MHSAA/Applebee’s “Team of the Month” for February. The Red Arrows finished 22-3, their only team losses this season to eventual Division 1 champion Detroit Catholic Central, Division 1 runner-up Brighton and semifinalist Davison. Lowell followed up the team title with two champions and five more placers the first weekend of March at the Individual Finals at Ford Field.
The team title streak began in 2014 under then-coach Dave Dean, when the Red Arrows ended St. Johns’ four-season hold on Division 2 with a one-point win in the Final. Boudro was an assistant to Dean and took over the program the next season.
The toughest part of continuing such a run is probably the expectation that it’s going to continue. The pressure stacks up – Boudro noticed his team wrestling a little tight at the end of this regular season. But he and his staff worked to get the Red Arrows focusing again on the postseason tournaments being the same as those the team wrestles during the regular season – which is helped because Lowell stacks its schedule with playoff-caliber competition to prepare for February and March.
The season ended with junior Austin Boone winning the individual title at 152 pounds – he’ll attempt next year to become the 27th in MHSAA history to win four championships – and senior Avry Mutchler claiming the title at 140. Senior Jeff Leach (fourth at 135), junior James Fotis (fifth at 145), sophomore Doak Dean (seventh at 145), sophomore Jacob Lee (fifth at 160), junior Tyler Delooff (fifth at 285) and freshman Ramsy Mutschler (fourth at 103) also placed among the top eight at their weights. Avry Mutschler went over 150 career wins during the season, and Leach won his 100th. Leach also clinched this season’s championship in his match against Goodrich, after doing the same against Warren Woods-Tower in the 2016 Final.
Additionally, the Red Arrows earned first-team academic all-state honors for the 13th year in a row, this time with a team GPA of 3.844.
Lowell had scheduled to celebrate Wednesday with its postseason banquet, before jumping back into planning for next season and the pursuits that will come with it.
“We don’t do the same things every year. We’re always trying to get better,” Boudro said. “We try to push the envelope so we’re not staying stagnate.”
Past Teams of the Month, 2018-19
January: Farmington United gymnastics – Read
December: Warren Woods-Tower wrestling – Read
November: Rochester Adams girls swimming & diving – Read
October: Leland boys soccer – Read
September: Pickford football – Read
August: Northville girls golf – Read
PHOTOS: (Top) Lowell wrestlers congratulate Jeff Leach after he won the last and clinching match of the Division 2 Final last month against Goodrich. (Middle) The Red Arrows’ Austin Boone wrestles Melvindale’s Devin Spears for the Division 2 title at 152 pounds. (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 [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.)