LEWISBERRY - Over the course of 35 years of wrestling matches at Red Land, Craig Helmuth has seen quite a few memorable dual meets.
Tuesday night's 36-30 non-league defeat to Shippensburg would not likely go into that category - even though it was a thriller - except for one fact: It was Helmuth's final home match as the Patriots' coach.
When the wrestling season is over, Helmuth is retiring as a coach and a teacher.
"It wasn't like I just decided to go out sometime in January," Helmuth said. "I've known 35 was the number for a while. But it was going to be hard whenever I retired, because there's always that next group of kids you'd like to stay with."
For instance, the Patriots' middle school team is 18-0.
Helmuth was the only PIAA state champion for Chambersburg (in 1974) until Garett Hammond accomplished the feat last March. Helmuth was also an NCAA Division III champion his freshman season at Gettysburg College.
He started coaching right out of college and hasn't stopped since.
Along the way, Helmuth coached three Red Land wrestlers to a total of four state titles - John Worley (1981), Brad Bush (1984, '85) and Brian Baglio (2002).
A point of pride is that those three wrestlers were 4-0 in state finals and 3-0 in the annual Dapper Dan U.S. vs. Pa. all-star match.
"I'd have to say the highlights for me are those three kids winning state championships," Helmuth said, "and each one was special in its own way. I think with me having had that experience, I knew what they were going through and could help them out. But I was definitely more nervous than they were."
As the season began to wind down, Helmuth said he really wasn't thinking too much about the end that is, until his wife Amy organized a surprise reunion last Thursday in the next-to-last home match and nearly all of Helmuth's PIAA placewinners were there to honor him.
"Yeah, that was a little emotional seeing all those guys again," he said. "But, hey, it's not like I'm leaving the area. I'll still be around."
As for Tuesday's match, there was a lot of familiarity since the teams had just met in the Eastern York duals tourney on Saturday, with Red Land winning 45-33.
This time, the Greyhounds (11-7) bolted to a 33-6 lead after Daquan Woods scored a pin at 106 pounds with six bouts left and dared the Patriots (8-7) to come back. They almost did.
Pins by Leo DeJesus (113), Nate Green (120) and Josiah Russell (132) and decisions by Jordan Nesmith (126) and Joe Fought (138) brought Red Land to within 33-30 with only the bout at 145 left.
Ship's Elijah Harris took on Luke Horan, and a four-point move by Horan gave him a 6-1 lead in the second. But Harris fought back with an escape and takedown in the second to make it 6-4, then tilted Horan for three nearfall points with 44 seconds left.
With Harris ahead 7-6 and a restart with five seconds left, Horan did a quick granby roll and rolled free for an apparent escape. But before the official could award the tying point, Harris latched on and the clock ran out.
Helmuth said, "Luke was free, but instead of moving away, he moved right back in."
Harris said, "All I knew was I had to go out and win. It was close at the end."
The biggest difference from Saturday was that Ship 152-pounder Justin Timko scored a pin - Saturday he was disqualified.
Hound coach Tony Yaniello said, "We knew this would be a close match. Timko's match was a big turnaround, and we didn't give up bonus points in some places where we did Saturday. Like at 126, (Derek Watson) got pinned Saturday and he lost just 1-0 today."
Chris Williams (170), Branden Stitt (220) also had pins for Shippensburg and Dylan Herb (195) earned a 7-1 decision.
Ed Gotwals can be reached at 262-4755 and email@example.com.
Red Land 30
152 - Jeremy Fisher (RL) d Tommy LaRue, 8-6
160 - Justin Timko (S) p Steve Wherley, 3:28
170 - Chris Williams (S) p Austin Tonkin, 5:32
182 - Connor Parsons (RL) d Stephen Manders, 10-4
195 - Dylan Herb (S) d Pat O'Brien, 7-1
220 - Branden Stitt (S) p R.J. Fisher, 1:53
285 - Cary Hess (S) won by forfeit
106 - Daquan Woods (S) p Tony Doyle, 1:57
113 - Leo DeJesus (RL) p Justin Evans, 1:54
120 - Nate Green (RL) p Zane Hershey, 0:57
126 - Jordan Nesmith (RL) d Derek Watson, 1-0
132 - Josiah Russell (RL) p Andrew Dozel, 2:35
138 - Joe Fought (RL) d Nathan Coldsmith, 8-2
145 - Elijah Harris (S) d Luke Horan, 7-6
Next match: Thursday, at York Suburban, 7.