Wrestling and I-80
FloWrestling posted a breakdown of the national qualifiers by state. So made some maps. The first map displays the raw number of wrestlers per state. With 49 qualifiers Pennsylvania leads the way, with Ohio and Illinois next (both 31) followed by New Jersey (30). If you look instead at qualifying wrestlers per capita (in this case qualifiers per million residents) as in the second map, South Dakota leads the way with 4.66 qualifiers per million followed by Iowa (4.16), Pennsylvania (3.83), New Jersey (3.35) and Delaware (3.17). Ohio and Illinois are next with 2.67 and 2.41, respectively.
It’s really remarkable to see how localized the sport of wrestling really is. Wrestling basically takes place along Interstate 80. If you look at the 11 states that I80 travels through (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California) almost 55% of qualifiers are from these states even though these states make up only a little over 32% of the US population. Even more remarkably, if you just look at the first 6 states that I80 travels through (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa) these states along make up over 47% of the qualifiers even though these states make up only a little over 17% of the US population.
And just for fun here’s me in the Massachusetts state quarterfinals in 1999. I was down 7-0 after the first. I won 11-10. Don’t ask me what happened in the semifinals. I’m not over it yet. Give me a few more decades.