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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling Caps Perfect Regular Season

Penn State wrestling is looking to win another national championship
Photo by Penn State Athletics: Cael Sanderson

Sunday afternoon was supposed to be a day of celebration for the Penn State wrestling team on Senior Day at Rec Hall.

It was that, at least for the majority of the afternoon as the Nittany Lions demolished Edinboro, 55-0.

But the sobering reality of injuries in sports hit during Carter Starocci’s match at 174 pounds.

At the end of his bout, Starocci was trying to turn Edinboro’s Joseph Arnold for a pin. Starocci’s leg got twisted under him, and was in noticeable pain.

Starocci got the technical fall, 22-5, in just 2:45, but the attention was only shifted on Starocci’s health. Starocci had to be helped off the mat. There was no update on his injury after the match.

“You want your kids happy and healthy. That’s every practice and every competition,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “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.”

About an hour before the injury, Starocci was part of the senior group that was recognized along with Aaron Brooks, Imran Heard, Greg Kerkvliet, Matt Lee, Baylor Shunk, Bernie Truax, and Marco Vespa.

All 10 wrestlers put up bonus points for PSU on the day. Including Starocci, the Nittany Lions scored five technical falls. They also had four falls, while Mitchell Mesenbrink received a forfeit at 165 pounds.

“You have to give Edinboro credit,” Sanderson said. “They came in here and gave a good effort and they were just outmatched. Our guys had the opportunity to score some points and work on some things they’ve been doing, and get a tune-up going into Big Tens.”

Braeden Davis (125), Aaron Nagao (133), Starocci, Truax (184), and Brooks (197) all got technical falls, with all of them coming in the second period except for Starocci.

Beau Bartlett (141), Tyler Kasak (149), Levi Haines (157), and Kerkvliet (285) recorded pins.

Senior Day festivities

Whether any of the seniors choose to return next year or not will be a question in the future, but there was a lot of talent recognized prior to the match.

Between Brooks and Starocci is six national championships. Add in Kerkvliet and Truax and there’s more All-Americans.

“It’s a special group,” Sanderson said. “They weren’t all the same year coming out of high school, but it’s an impressive picture of seniors. It’s been a lot of fun.

“We spend a lot of time together, every day for multiple hours. They’re people that you enjoy working with, and that’s what makes my job fun. The wins are just a bonus. It’s fun being around people that are striving to be the best they can be on a consistent basis.”

It was special for Truax especially, who had his family in for the dual meet from California.

“It was a beautiful moment getting to hang out with them, tell them I love them, and spend my last college dual hanging out with them,” Truax said.

Penn State 55, Edinboro 0

125 – Braeden Davis (PSU) tech. fall Caleb Edwards (E), 19-3 4:02.

133 – Aaron Nagao (PSU) tech. fall Eamonn Jimenez (E), 18-3 3:33.

141 – Beau Bartlett (PSU) pinned Jacob Brenneman (E), 4:11.

149 – Tyler Kasak (PSU) pinned Colin Roberts (E), 3:20.

157 – Levi Haines (PSU) pinned Gannon Jaquay (E), 4:38.

165 – Mitchell Mesenbrink (PSU) won by forfeit.

174 – Carter Starocci (PSU) tech. fall Joseph Arnold (E), 22-5 2:45.

184 – Bernie Truax (PSU) tech. fall Brody Evans (E), 21-3 5:00.

197 – Aaron Brooks (PSU) tech. fall Jack Kilner (E), 19-4 3:55.

285 – Greg Kerkvliet (PSU) pinned Nicholas Lodato (E), 1:27.

Attendance: 6,389

Records: Penn State (12-0 overall, 8-0 Big Ten); Edinboro (2-12 overall).

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