With events like several large United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) softball and baseball tournaments and a landmark lacrosse tournament, Wicomico County and Salisbury is becoming a major sports destination in the state of Maryland! But for the last twenty years, Salisbury has grown into one of the biggest hubs for wrestling on the East Coast.
This year, the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center hosted two large Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association (MAWA) tournaments- South Regionals on April 12 and 13, and Eastern Nationals May 2 and 3. MAWA is one of the largest amateur wrestling organizations in the country, and has helped produce several future NCAA Champions and Olympians. Approximately 2,500 wrestlers from nearly 17 states competed at both events combined, marking the tenth consecutive time Salisbury has hosted these events, and the 14th time overall.
“We have been proud to host MAWA in Salisbury and Wicomico County for the last ten consecutive years and many years prior. The impact that it has on our community is tremendous.” said James Simmons, Assistant Tourism Manager for Wicomico County. Along with 2,500 athletes, the tournaments draw family and friends to Salisbury and the surrounding areas during a slower season on the Eastern Shore.
“We see about a $3 million dollar economic impact on our community. In a shoulder season (non-peak season) that is huge for our hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Wrestlers, parents and coaches coming from 17 different states gives our economy a great bump that we may not see at that time of year otherwise.”
Wicomico County loves to play host to such a large, successful pair of tournaments, and MAWA leadership echoes that sentiment.
“We have a great home in Salisbury for our Eastern Nationals Tournament. We consistently have participants and parents thank us for an excellently run event,” said Mike Smith, President of MAWA. “The facility is top notch; participants often walk around in awe of the venue and have never wrestled in such a place,” he says of the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, which can accommodate 15 wrestling mats and 360-degree seating for spectators.
Salisbury will be the site for Eastern Nationals at least through 2018, establishing Wicomico County as a mainstay site for wrestling on the East Coast!