Strong Finish Seals DCC as 3-Peat Champ

February 22, 2014

By Dan Stickradt
Special to Second Half

BATTLE CREEK — Payback is never tougher than in a championship setting. Ask those around Davison’s wrestling program.

After losing to fellow state powerhouse Detroit Catholic Central in last season’s MHSAA Division 1 title match, 29-26, in a meet that went down to the final weight class, top-ranked Davison sought its revenge on the Shamrocks on Saturday at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.

Catholic Central still proved too much to overcome.

Davison, top-ranked all season and top-seeded for the MHSAA Finals weekend, couldn’t hang on to a 19-13 lead through eight matches, as Catholic Central closed out with a 21-0 run by winning the last six to prevail.

CC’s Drew Garcia outlasted Davison’s Jordan Cooks in overtime, 3-1, at 189 pounds to clinch the title -- Catholic Central's third straight and fourth in five years. Both are reigning two-time Individual Finals champions.

"All season long our coach told us not to talk about a three-peat," said Garcia, who also finished as an MHSAA individual runner-up as a freshman. "He told us that we had to go out and try to win a state championship and not try to defend it. Our goal all along was to win the state title, and we (rose) up and did it.

The win marked Catholic Central’s 11th team title, which ties the MHSAA record for most in Class A/Division 1 lore.

“This ties Temperance-Bedford for the most in Division 1 history. That’s shows how hard the kids work in this wrestling program,” said Catholic Central coach Mitch Hancock, who has guided the Shamrocks to a 149-32 record over seven seasons as head coach. "That's something we take a lot of pride in. But I told the entire team, coaches and parents at the beginning of the season that we were not to mention the (phrase) three-peat. Every year is different and our goal was to go out and try to win a state championship."

Davison defeated Catholic Central, 31-28, in a match in December. But the Cardinals couldn't match up with the Shamrocks this time around.

"They had a couple of guys out the last time, so they had everyone back this time and those guys made a huge difference for them," noted Davison coach Roy Hall, whose program slipped to 8-3 all-time in MHSAA championship matches. "This played out similar to what I thought. We needed a couple of close matches to go our way, and they didn't. That's wrestling. We wanted to get them back (for last year) but came up short."

His team down 19-13 through 140 pounds, Catholic Central's Myles Amine started the comeback at 145 with a 6-4 decision win. Brother Malik Amine (152) continued the momentum swing with a 5-3 decision win that tied the match at 19-19.

"Those guys are amazing. They were in the wrestling room three days after football season ended (with another MHSAA Division 1 championship game) and ready to go at it," said Hancock. "What else can you say about those guys? They are champions on and off the mat. That's the type of dedication that we have here at Catholic Central. These kids never stop working."

Nick Bennett (160) got a pin in 1:40 to put Catholic Central up for good at 25-19. Freshman Tyler Morland  (171) gutted out a 9-5 victory for a 28-19 advantage and set the stage for Garcia.

CC's Nick Geise (215) ended the match with a 4-1 triumph.

"This is all about Catholic Central High school, representing Catholic Central, the administration, the parents, and giving glory to God," added Hancock. "We would not be able to do this without any of them." 

Catholic Central entered the weekend the third seed and finished 18-4, taking down second-seeded Hartland in the Semifinal and sixth-seeded Plymouth in the Quarterfinal on Friday. Davison ended 25-4 and beat Livonia Franklin then Oxford to advance. 

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Catholic Central's Drew Garcia raises his hands in victory after claiming a 3-1 decision during Saturday's Division 1 Team Final. (Middle) Davison and DCC wrestlers work for position during the championship match. (Click to see more at

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.)