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Penn State Wrestling HC Cael Sanderson: ‘Some of the Energy got Sucked out of the Room’ After Carter Starocci’s Injury

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Cael Sanderson

For the most part, the last Penn State wrestling dual meet of the season was similar to the previous 11.

Penn State came, saw and conquered its collective opponent, and Carter Starocci came, saw and conquered his individual one.

But the win came with a price for Starocci and Penn State: Starocci was injured near the end of his tech fall over Edinboro’s Joseph Arnold.

It’s too early to say how serious the injury is, but it’s come at a particularly bad time for Starocci. The Big Ten Championships are less than two weeks away and the national championships are less than a month out. Starocci has a chance to become a four-time national champion, but those chances would take a hit depending on the extent of this injury.

Penn State coach Cael Sanderson was asked about the injury after the dual meet, and didn’t have any more information on Starocci’s status.

“You want your kids happy and healthy,” Sanderson said. “That’s every practice and every competition. It’s not always realistic. That’s just part of the sport. We’re obviously thinking about Carter right now, and figuring out what’s going on. We’re optimistic. Carter is a tough kid. He’s been through the national tournament with injuries before.”

Sanderson said “some of the energy got sucked out of the room” when Starocci got hurt.

“That’s sports,” he said. “Sometimes adversity sharpens its senses and makes everyone a little stronger, including the person that’s injured.”

Sanderson also broke down what led to Starocci’s injury.

“He was trying to get the pin,” he said, “and he put his leg in a compromised position, and it just didn’t work out. Thankfully it was at the end of the match and he got the technical fall.”

Sanderson said Starocci has “always been a quick healer” and pointed out that he won one of his three national titles with a broken hand.

“Carter has always been a quick healer. He won a national title a couple years ago with a broken hand.”

For Sanderson, it’s important for Penn State wrestling to keep spirits high.

“We aren’t writing anything off yet,” he said. “We’re going to choose to be optimistic and positive. Things will work out.”

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