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‘He Can Get Whooped in Front of his Mom and Dad’: Penn State’s Carter Starocci Responds to Iowa Commit Gabe Arnold

Carter Starocci, Penn State Wrestling
Photo by NCAA: Carter Starocci

Gabe Arnold hasn’t wrestled a college match yet, and he already has beef with an NCAA national champion in Penn State’s Carter Starocci.

Arnold, an Iowa commit, tweeted during Friday’s massive dual meet between No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Iowa that Starocci was “overrated.”

“I said what I said,” he added.

Arnold explained what he said.

”I was just letting my presence be known,” Arnold told FloWrestling the day after Penn State-Iowa. “I want the college world to know that I’m here, and everyone says, ‘oh, you’re a punk.’ There were some chirps back. ‘Punk high school kid,’ this, that, (people saying I) trashed an NCAA champ. Whatever.”

Arnold claimed he “wasn’t taking anything away from Carter Starocci.”

”Carter Starocci is one of the best at 174 pounds,” Arnold said, “and that’s who I have in my mirror every single day. That’s who I see. That’s who I’m going to beat next year. So, these are goals that I have set for myself, and whether people like me or not, I honestly could care less. But my goal is to beat Carter Starocci. My goal is to be a 2024 NCAA national champ at 174 pounds. So, by any means necessary, that is what I will do. So, hate me or love me, I’m Gabe Arnold.”

Believe it or not, Starocci didn’t take too kindly to Arnold’s words.

He had a message for the future Hawkeye that will have fans of both schools looking forward to next year’s dual meet in Iowa City.

“If you can kiss enough butt and get in the starting lineup,” Starocci told reporters Tuesday, “I’ll take care of business there, and it’ll be in his home dojo, too. He can get whooped in front of his mom and dad. So, that’ll be fun.”

Arnold is a star in the high school ranks. He’s a two-time prep school national champion out of Wyoming Seminary High School in Kingston, Pennsylvania. He has since transferred to Iowa City High School, where he’s wrestling his senior season. 

Starocci did his job in Friday’s win over No. 2 Iowa with a 2-1 triumph over Nelson Brands, the No. 16 wrestler in the 174-pound class. The year before, he beat No. 2 Michael Kemerer 2-1 in Iowa City.

In the 2020-21 season, Starocci lost to Kemerer in the Big Ten championship match in March. He then beat Kemerer to win his first national championship. He also beat Kemerer via medical forfeit in the 2022 Big Ten Tournament.

These are the only two matches Starocci has wrestled against Iowa. Starocci has been an All-American and national champion in each of his two full seasons, having redshirted the 2019-20 campaign. Starocci was also a Big Ten champ last March and a runner-up the year before. He went 37-2 over his first two seasons and has kept it going this year, being the No. 1 wrestler in his weight class.

Penn State has its first meet post-Iowa scheduled for 7:00 this Friday night at No. 4 Ohio State.

**Note: An earlier version of this article referred to Gabe Arnold as an “Iowa signee.” He is committed, but not signed yet. 

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