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Penn State Wrestling Star Carter Starocci Explains why he Wasn’t Available for Michigan Dual Meet

Iowa wrestler Nelson Brands vs. Penn State's Carter Starocci (Photo by Penn State Athletics)

There wasn’t much for Penn State wrestling and its fans to be disappointed about from Friday night’s dual meet win over Michigan. 

No. 1 Penn State dominated No. 11 Michigan with a 27-9 win in Ann Arbor, winning eight of 10 bouts on the night.

But one of the few disappointments came from the fact that a matchup Big Ten wrestling fans had been looking forward to didn’t end up happening. 

Penn State’s Carter Starocci and Michigan’s Shane Griffith are both multi-time All-Americans. Starocci is a three-time national champion in the 174-pound weight class, and Griffith won the 2021 national championship at 165 for Stanford (helping save Stanford wrestling in the process). Furthermore, Griffith beat Starocci were still in high school, a fact Starocci hadn’t forgotten as of this past May. Now, Griffith is wrestling at 174, where he’s ranked No. 4 in the country. So up until the night of the match, fans expected this bout to take place.

But early Friday evening, word got out that Starocci wouldn’t be competing, reportedly due to illness. 

In an interview with FloWrestling after the meet, the Penn State wrestling star didn’t say specifically why he was out, but his words seemed to back the report. 

https://x.com/FloWrestling/status/1748530676905726261?s=20

“Just some health complications,” Starocci said. “It obviously tears me apart not to be out there. It was a last-minute decision.”

Starocci said he feels that his younger self would have competed. 

“But just being mature and just leveling up in life,” he said. “I think just it’s a mature decision not to go out there.”

Starocci said he aims to compete Sunday at Michigan State, but that will be a “game-time decision.”

In any case, it doesn’t appear that Starocci will be out long-term. In his next match, Starocci will be going for his 60th straight win. 

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