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Penn State Wrestling

He’s Back: Carter Starocci Confirms PSU Return

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

It had been suspected, now it’s confirmed: Carter Starocci will be back wrestling for Penn State this season.

Starocci had hinted at his return with an Instagram post the day Penn State’s 2023-24 schedule was announced, and he confirmed it Thursday afternoon.

This is big news for Cael Sanderson’s wrestling empire.

Sanderson has had plenty of greats in his time at Penn State, and Starocci is one of the best. He’s won the past three national championships at the 174-pound weight class and was a finalist for the Hodge Trophy (wrestling’s Heisman) this past March.

Starocci’s overall college record is 61-2 and he’s won his last 52 matches.

Not long after Penn State’s 2023 wrestling schedule came out, Starocci posted an Instagram story with a photo of the schedule and wrote: “The Final Hit List.”

After winning his third national title, Starocci indicated in an interview with ESPN that he wouldn’t be returning to Penn State for the 2023-24 season.

“This (college wrestling) is cool,” Starocci told ESPN, “but I want the peak of the sport. I don’t look past this 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.”

Almost two weeks after Starocci’s latest national title win, he sent a series of tweets. In one of them, he wrote that he’s considering returning to Penn State to pursue a fourth national title, something only five wrestlers at any weight class have accomplished.

The thread’s first tweet read as a follow-up to Starocci’s post-national title interview.

But in the thread’s second tweet, Starocci said he was still weighing his decision.

“There’s options on the table,” he wrote. I will talk with the people I trust and make a decision on either finishing my college career early, train strictly for my Olympic strap and then go right into MMA, or run down the college scene one last time for my 4th Natty Daddy, then head to Paris.”

Paris is where the 2024 summer games will be.

Carter Starocci has two years of eligibility left if he wants to use them, but said he plans on this being his last dance at PSU.

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