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Where are the frothiest wrestling hotbeds in America? We've covered this topic before using the latest in space-age technological advancements in the fields of computer software. For instance, we analyzed the question with heat maps of the 2017 NCAA Championships. We've broken out three-dimensional geo-plotting for the 2017 NCAA All-Americans and the best high school wrestlers of 2017. And most recently we looked at heat maps by state of the 2018 Fargo results.
Now, for the first time in history, we will produce and scrutinize heat maps of NCAA placement points from the years of 2014 to 2018 broken down by county. That is a level of granularity the likes of which the wrestling world has never seen before. Tremendous.
Let's take a gander, shall we?
"But wait," you say. "This map covers only the contiguous states, what about Alaska and Hawaii?" you ask.
Unfortunately, no one from Alaskan counties scored any NCAA points from 2014 to 2018. However, the Terao brothers scored 17 points between them over those five years. As such, we have included a map featuring the county in Hawaii from whence they hail.
Well done, Josh and David Terao!
To get a better look at those yellow, orange, and red countries — which would be the counties that are producing the most NCAA points over the last five years — we can magnify different regions of the country to get a more illuminating view. Quick note: a county that produces a national qualifier that does not score any NCAA points will still show up on the map.
Below is the Northeast:
Here we find the highest concentration of wrestling talent in the United States. From St. Paris, Ohio (the orange rectangle on the left of the picture), to Suffolk County on Long Island, the Northeast produces more NCAA point scorers than anywhere else on the globe.
Cuyahoga County, home of Cleveland and the 2018 NCAA tournament, is the best-scoring county in America with 440 NCAA points since 2014. The Pittsburgh metro area also fared well, with Allegheny County and Westmoreland County producing 538 NCAA points between them.
Lehigh and Northampton Counties on the other side of the Keystone state scored over 300 NCAA points combined. Next door in the Garden State, 17 of 21 countries produced national qualifiers, the highest percentage of any state.
Had we calculated points per county per capita, an exercise that will have to wait for another time, Champaign County, in which you can find powerhouse high school program St. Paris-Graham, would likely find itself at the top of the list, with 338 points from a population of just 40,000.
And below we have a closeup of the Midwest:
Counties bordering Lake Michigan did very well at the national championships. Four different states had counties with lake frontage earn points at that tournament over the last five years. The Minneapolis metro area is also well-represented.
In Iowa, a small state that punches well above its weight at nationals, Black Hawk and Polk County both deserve special mention for earning over 200 each at the NCAA tournament since 2014.
Below is the central area of the US, cropped to include both Missouri and Oklahoma.
Missouri has three high productivity zones, centered around St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City. Payne County, home of OK State University, leads the way in talent-rich Oklahoma.
And last but not least, the West:
California is pretty well-covered with qualifiers (the geographically large counties helps somewhat in that regard). Isaiah Martinez single-handedly put Kings County, highlighted here in yellow, in the upper echelon of the country.
And there you have it, the last five years of NCAA wrestling championships, broken down in a heat map at the county level. Neat!