LYNN — Mayoral candidate and school committee member Jared Nicholson hosted the sixth annual Lynn Shore Showdown where 50 individuals participated in wrestling matches on Saturday morning.
Nicholson, who wrestled in college at Princeton University, started a wrestling club in Lynn about six years ago, deciding that a tournament on the beach would help spotlight the sport and spread its awareness through the community.
Wrestling in the Lynn schools began at Marshall Middle School, and there is now a variety wrestling team with students from all three high schools in Lynn.
Nicholson said he is happy to see the wrestling club expand because Lynn has a proud athletic tradition and wrestling is a great sport to add to that.
Teams from all over New England made their way to Lynn beach to participate in the Lynn Shore Showdown, which was organized in partnership with the nonprofit organization Beat the Streets New England.
Nicholson wrestled against the founder of Beat the Streets New England and reconnected with him when he moved to Lynn.
Nicholson said he saw what the founder was doing, creating wrestling teams in Boston, and wanted to do the same in Lynn.
This resulted in a partnership that assisted Nicholson with the creation of wrestling clubs in the district’s schools and the annual beach tournament.
The idea for the beach tournament, Nicholson said, came when he participated in a similar one in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and thought it would be a great fit for Lynn.
“We’ve had great crowds attend this tournament,” Nicholson said. “Wrestling is such a great fit for cities like Lynn. Low cost of participation, you can have a high roster, kids of all sizes can participate.”
In Saturday’s tournament, there were divisions for individuals from five years old to adults.
Brackets are created based on age and size, and there are three-minute matches and whoever gets to three points first wins.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn the discipline and teamwork that you need in a sport like this,” Nicholson said. “It’s a great activity that can draw kids in. Those activities after school are important opportunities to learn how to work together, how to find an outlet, to learn those important life lessons like discipline and teamwork.”
The high school wrestling team is open to all of the city’s high school students and is based out of Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, competing in the so-called voke league.
Nicholson said there are great coaches and players in the program, which was put together by a team effort that included donations from the business community and support from athletic directors, the district and the students.
Saturday’s tournament brought more than 100 people to the beach, outside of the Lynn bath house, to watch multiple matches that included males and females of all ages.
There was a $20 entrance fee to register for the tournament and all of the funds raised go towards Beat the Streets New England and the district’s wrestling clubs.