Call it a very successful night for the Lions.
On Wednesday night, the Red Lion wrestling team celebrated its 50th anniversary and also celebrated a 39-33, YAIAA Division I victory against rival Dallastown.
"The kids said, 'We are not going to disappoint our fans today,'" said Lions head coach Chris Schell, who is the seventh coach in the program's history. "They came out to wrestle and they showed it."
Among those in attendance were three of the six former coaches — Tom Sinibaldi, Brad Lloyd and Biff Walizer — along with about 75 more former assistant coaches and wrestlers.
"It kind of brings tears to your eyes," said Schell, who wrestled for Sinibaldi. "It means a lot. It took a year in advance to get this rolling, and Doug Meisenhelter got this started. Fifty years is something great."
Doug Meisenhelter, who wrestled on that first team back in 1965, was in attendance along with his son, Matt, a two-time state medalist in 1996 and 1997.
"We were a bunch of good guys," Doug Meisenhelter said of that first team. "We were a bunch of young kids that had no idea of what we were doing. We just went out and did the best we did and we were successful."
That first Lions squad recorded a 4-2 record, according to Doug Meisenhelter.
He went on to wrestle in college and was the head coach at Gettysburg High School from 1970-1974. He also helped out at Red Lion in the early 1980s and was a PIAA official for 27 years.
"I have two artificial knees and an artificial hip to show for all of that," Meisenhelter said. "Wrestling really provided me with a groundwork for the rest of my life."
Matt Meisenhelter also said the sport that helped define the person he is today.
"It's such good training for life. Your athletic years are short, but it gives you lessons for life that you have forever," said Matt, who is a United Methodist minister in Virginia and was celebrating his 37th birthday on Wednesday.
At 275 pounds, Matt placed third in the state tournament in 1996 and fifth place in 1997. He finished with 93 wins in his Red Lion career.
"I was born about 275 pounds," Matt said. "You are part of a family that is so much bigger than you. So many people that you dont even know are supportive."
During Wednesday's win against Dallastown, Jared Schell got the home team off to a great start with a pin at 2:55 in the 285-pound bout.
Zach Shaffer's 6-1 decision at 182 pounds secured the victory for Red Lion before the Wildcats closed with a pair of pins.
The Lions (7-5, 3-3) Riley Seredych and Corey Shane also recorded pins.
The closest match of the night came at 126 pounds, when Dallastown's Dalton Daugherty bested Red Lion's Cole Daughtery, 6-5.
For Dallastown (6-10, 2-4), Geoffrey Grim, Ben Hyman, Drake Pew, Jack Marks and Bryce Shields all recorded pin fall victories.
at Red Lion
285 — Jared Schell, RL, pinned William Anderson, 2:55. 106 — Geoffrey Grim, Dt, pinned Alex Rabette, 3:18. 113 — Channing Bratton, RL, won by forfeit. 120 — Riley Seredych, RL, pinned Gerald MacDonald, 1:16. 126 — Dalton Daugherty, Dt, dec. Cole Daugherty, 6-5. 132 — Corey Shane, RL, pinned Yazir Dixion, 0:34. 138 — Tyler Ness, RL, maj. Dec. Jaron Baker, 13-5. 145 — Ben Hyman, Dt, pinned Ryan Caplinger, 3:32. 152 — Dylan Gurreri, RL, maj. Dec. Hayden Jones, 14-4. 160 — Drake Pew, Dt, pinned Briar Smith, 2:31. 170 — Jack Conrad, RL, maj. Dec. Matt Ross, 12-1. 182 — Zach Shaffer, RL, dec. Cameron Green, 6-1. 195 — Jack Marks, Dt, pinned Donovan Miller, 3:02. 220 — Bryce Shields, Dt, pinned Josh Reyes, 1:15.