Richmond Takes Latest Dramatic D3 Final

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

February 25, 2017

MOUNT PLEASANT – It took 14 matches and eight steps through the dual meet tiebreaker criteria Saturday to decide the latest edition of the wrestling rivalry between Richmond and Dundee.

But when Criteria H showed a 17-8 advantage for Richmond in total first points scored, it was Blue Devils coach Brandon Day who turned to his team with a triumphant fist in the air, sending the Richmond wrestlers and crowd into hysterics.

“I walked to the table and (Dundee coach Tim Roberts) told me, ‘You already won,’” Day said. “I told him, ‘We’ve got to quit doing this.’”

Richmond prevailed in the back-and-forth Division 3 title match, which ended tied at 28 following a 4-3 win from Richmond 130-pound sophomore Hayden Bastian. The title is Richmond’s eighth, and first since 2015 when it defeated Dundee in somehow less dramatic fashion with a pair of pins in the final two matches.

“It’s crazy, you don’t know what’s going to happen – it’s like the lottery,” said Richmond senior 112-pounder Roy Costello, who had one of those pins in 2015, and won a 3-2 decision on Saturday night. “It’s really suspenseful, your heart’s beating 100 mph, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The two teams were deadlocked through the first seven criteria, which includes three varieties of penalty points assessed, total matches won, pinfalls, technical falls and major decisions. It was fitting for a rivalry that has dominated Division 3 since 2006, with the teams now having combined to win 10 of the last 12 titles -- Richmond with six and Dundee with four. Of those 10, seven were won against the other.

“Our programs are intertwined now because we’ve wrestled each other so many times in this situation,” Roberts said. “Today they were that much better than us. It’s pretty close, but they did that much better than us today, so they get to be champs this year. It’s close, but they won.”

The dual was tied three times over the final five matches -- 22-22, 25-25 and 28-28. The final tie was forced by Bastian, who recorded a takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining to send the match to the scorebooks.

“I was stressed -- I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to get a takedown,” said Bastian, who didn’t know if his win would give his team the title. “I’m fairly new to the sport. I started wrestling in seventh grade. I don’t really know much. My first match I didn’t really know what I was doing. I don’t know almost anything, I just go out there and wrestle my best.”

Bastian’s coach had plenty of confidence in him before sending him out onto the mat.

“Hayden Bastian is the best kid in the state nobody knows about,” Day said. “He made 130 for the first time here this weekend, and that was the difference.”

Added Costello: “Hayden performed awesome this whole weekend. Even though he’s not a state qualifier, he performed awesome.”

Dundee jumped out to a 22-9 lead in the match, getting pins from Sean Sterling at 160 pounds and Brandon Whitman at 189, a major decision at 145 from Tylor Orrison and decisions from Zachary Bellaire at 140 and Kyle Motylinski at 171.

Even with the lead, however, Roberts didn’t feel safe.

“We knew we needed more,” Roberts said. “We needed another win down there that we didn’t get. We knew we were kind of in trouble at 22-9. At 119 and 125, our guys did a nice job and came away with wins there, but we knew we were one win short when it was 22-9.”

Richmond stormed back to tie the dual with a major decision from Colton McKiernan at 215, a decision from Tyler Marino at 285 and a pin from Austin Kilburn at 103.

Kilburn’s pin ended a wild match against Dundee’s Caleb Fairchild, which saw both wrestlers taken to their backs in the opening period. Kilburn, a freshman, regained his composure and scored seven more points before getting the pin with 41 seconds left in the match.

Costello’s win put the Blue Devils up 25-22, but Daniel Jaworski (119) and Christian Killion (125) each won decisions for the Vikings to give them the 28-25 lead heading into the final match.

Richmond opened the dual with a pin from senior Owen Vannatter at 135 pounds, and after Dundee took a 7-6 lead with its wins from Bellaire and Orrison, Richmond sophomore Eric Barr pulled off an upset at 152 with a 3-2 win against Dundee’s Alex Motylinski.

“Eric Barr!” Day shouted. “Eric Barr knocked off No. 3 in the state. (Barr) didn’t make it out of our Regional. That was huge.”

The MHSAA Wrestling Finals are presented by the Michigan Army National Guard.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Dundee (left) and Richmond faced off Saturday for the eighth time over the last decade of Division 3 Finals. (Middle) Dundee’s Sean Sterling works toward a pin during his match at 160. (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.)