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Gaylord Wins Close Quarterfinal Match Over Monroe Jefferson in Wrestling

KALAMAZOO — Benny Blyveis picked up a pin in 1:11 in the 152-pound weight class to secure the 36-35 win for Gaylord over Monroe Jefferson in the Div. 2 state quarterfinal on Friday.

The Blue Devils started the match with wins in the 171 to 215 weight class, taking a 12-0 lead. But Monroe Jefferson responded with five straight wins from 285 to 125. They held a 29-12 lead entering the final stretch of weight classes of 130 to 160, where Gaylord features multiple wrestlers ranked in the state.

Louden Stradling started the Gaylord comeback with a pin in 0:54 at 130. Gabe Thompson added on with another pin at 3:27 in the next weight class. Gus James and Drew Anderson secured key decision victories at 140 and 145, respectively. And Blyveis sealed the deal with a pin at 1:11 in the 152-pound weight class. Gaylord forfeited 160 with the match already locked up.

“Benny’s match was saving the best for last,” Gaylord head coach Jerry LaJoie said. “That [Monroe Jefferson] kid can throw from anywhere and that’s the kid we wanted Benny on because he’s a Greco kid too. So he felt it coming and then got his takedown worked the turns and it was all good from there.”

“It’s really easy to look at the score and think ‘wow, that’s tough I need to go out there and get three or six,'” Blyveis said. “But [I just] go out there and wrestle my style and see what happens and hopefully put the points on the board.”

They advance to their sixth semifinal appearance in eight years, and they will once again take on Lowell. Since 2015, Gaylord has faced Lowell four times and they have never won. The semifinal match will be at 12 p.m. on Saturday in the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. If Gaylord defeats the 8-time reigning state champion in the semifinals, they will advance to the state championship match scheduled for Saturday at 3:45 p.m.