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Starocci honored by Big Ten after huge victory that helped PSU beat Michigan

Photo by Michigan Athletics (Sam Janicki): Carter Starocci

Carter Starocci picked up the biggest victory for Penn State on Sunday, a key decision that allowed the No. 3 Nittany Lions to post an 18-13 win over No. 2 Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The Big Ten rewarded Starocci today by naming the freshman as the league’s Wrestler of the Week.

This is from our Andy Stine’s analysis of the match:

** PSU 174-pounder Carter Starocci, who came in ranked eighth, pulled off a massive upset over the Wolverines’ No. 2 ranked Logan Massa, 7-1, in the overtime tiebreaker. Starocci picked up four near fall points in the first round of the tiebreaker that led to the big win.

Quite simply, if Starocci did not come up with the upset over Massa, the Lions don’t win the dual meet. Had Massa won, the Wolverines would have closed their deficit to 12-9. Aaron Brooks picked up a decision for Penn State at 184, but Michigan got the decision at 197 and then a major decision at heavyweight. In that case, Michigan would have won the dual meet, 16-15.

It seems like Starocci has put his upset loss against Indiana in his collegiate debut way in the rear view mirror.

Following is Penn State’s release on the Big Ten honoring Starocci:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; February 16, 2021 – Penn State Nittany Lion wrestler Carter Starocci (Erie, Pa.), ranked No. 5 in this week’s InterMat individual rankings, has been named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for the week ending Feb. 14, 2021.  It is the first such honor for the Penn State freshman.

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Starocci earned the laurel by defeating sixth-year senior Logan Massa of Michigan in a key bout in the Nittany Lions’ 18-13 victory in Ann Arbor.  Massa entered the day ranked No. 2 by InterMat while Starocci was ranked No. 8 at the time. 

The Erie Cathedral Prep graduate battled Massa evenly through regulation, heading to sudden victory tied 1-1 with each grappler owning an escape. After a scoreless extra minute, Massa chose down for his tie-breaker period and Starocci made the Wolverine veteran pay. Starocci muscled Massa over from the top position during a scramble and, using his legs, turned Massa’s shoulders to the mat for four back points and a 5-1 lead. The Lion freshman added an escape and a penalty point in his tie-breaker period and posted the thrilling 7-1 (tb) victory.

Penn State is now 4-0 on the year, 4-0 in Big Ten action. The Nittany Lions return to action on Friday, Feb. 19, with a road dual at No. 11 Ohio State.  The Lions and Buckeyes tangle in a dual that will air live on the Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. Penn State then hosts Maryland on Monday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. in another Big Ten Network national telecast.

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sam K

    February 16, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Starocci’s composure impressed me the most. Never looked frantic or overwhelmed. Just calmly waited for his chance vs. Massa and capitalized. A veteran match from the freshman.

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