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‘Lmao’: Penn State Wrestler Carter Starocci Tweets Disagreement With Hodge Trophy Decision

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

People who are familiar with Carter Starocci away from the mat shouldn’t be surprised by this.

The Penn State wrestler, who won his third straight national championship two weekends ago in Tulsa, was one of 10 nominees for wrestling’s Heisman: The Hodge Trophy.

Neither Starocci nor teammate Aaron Brooks— another three-time national champ and 2023 Hodge nominee— won the award.

Instead, Michigan heavyweight Mason Parris won it. Parris finished the season 33-0 and beat 10 All-Americans, the most of anybody in the country.

Three of Parris’s wins came against Starocci and Brooks’s teammate, Greg Kerkvliet. Kerkvliet finished the year 19-3 and ranked No. 2 in his weight class by InterMat.

So although Parris certainly had a magical season, and many feel he was the right guy to win the Hodge, Starocci isn’t one of them.

He responded to NCAA Wrestling’s tweet announcing Parris as the winner with one phrase:


A Penn Stater and former Hodge winner backed Starocci up.

”It’s all good bro,” Bo Nickal, now a rising UFC star, tweeted in response to Starocci, “we all know who’s the best.”


Starocci, who finished this past season 24-0, isn’t one to hold back his feelings.

In the past two months alone, there have been multiple instances of Starocci speaking his mind.

On the last day of January, Starocci had an entertaining response to Iowa commit Gabe Arnold, who, during Penn State and Iowa’s dual meet at the Bryce Jordan Center, tweeted that the 174-pound champ “overrated.”

Days later, Starocci used Twitter to vow revenge against Indiana’s DJ Washington, who’s the only man to beat Starocci (61-2) in the regular season during his college career.

This tweet was sent the day before Penn State and Indiana’s dual meet, in which Starocci and Washington had a brief but heated confrontation after Starocci’s win.

More recently, after his third national championship, Starocci took an apparent dig at former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

Usman was a national wrestling champion at Division II Nebraska-Kearney. That would impress a lot of people.

But if it impresses Starocci, he didn’t show it in his post-match interview.

“He was a DII national champ,” Starocci told ESPN. “That’s beginners’ stuff where I come from.”

Starocci didn’t mention Usman by name, but it was obvious to those who follow wrestling and UFC who he was talking about.

For as good as he is at talking, tweeting and creating story material, Carter Starocci is better on the mat. He’s won 52 straight matches and indicated in the same interview where he called out Usman that he’s about to move on from college wrestling and embark on winning an Olympic gold medal.

“I want the peak of the sport,” he told ESPN. “I don’t look past this (college wrestling) because this is what I wake up to do every single day. It’s been fun smacking the head of the college team, but I want that Olympic gold.”


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