Rivals & Wrestlers Show Military Support

October 26, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Wrestling practice begins two weeks from Monday. But planning for a special military appreciation event at Coopersville is well underway and promises to be memorable.

The Broncos host an annual six-team tournament, which will take place this season Dec. 28. For this winter’s event, the school’s wrestling program has raised money to buy six uniforms – honoring the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and MIA/POW(s) – one set of 16 shirts and shorts for each competing team.

None of the uniforms will bear a school name or symbol, only those of the armed service branch or troops the shirts support. Organizers are planning to begin the event with a grand march with veterans leading each team. All veterans and active military will be admitted free of charge, and Coopersville will be inviting residents of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Hastings, Kent City, Grand Rapids Northview, Ravenna and Zeeland West also will be competing and taking part. The shirts are designed by Addix, a sponsor of the MHSAA.

Rivals Team Up to Support Military Families

Neighboring volleyball programs Birch Run and Frankenmuth came together Oct. 10 to give their match as a fundraiser for the I Support the 1% Food Pantry for Veterans of Michigan, which serves local military families.

The teams wore shirts supporting the cause with names on the back of family members who had served or are currently serving in the military.

The match alone was worth the price of admission, as the Panthers won in five sets. The previous week, Birch Run’s football team also supported the pantry as part of Homecoming against Bridgeport.

The Panthers’ volleyball match with the Eagles was just the latest effort between the two schools from the Tri-Valley Conference. The cross country teams also continued their annual joint “fun run” maze competition during a practice this month.

(Photos courtesy of the Birch Run athletic department.)

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.

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.)