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‘Dominate or Die’: Penn State Wrestling Star Carter Starocci Shuts Out No. 1 Mehki Lewis

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

Normal wrestlers, whether it’d be at Penn State wrestling or anywhere else, don’t shut out an opponent seeded No. 1 while wearing a big knee brace. 

PSU’s Carter Starocci established long ago that he’s far from a normal wrestler. 

Starocci, less than a month removed from being helped off the Rec Hall mat, wrestled No. 1 seed Mehki Lewis of Virginia Tech, and moved on with a 4-0 win. 

https://x.com/DOMISMONEY/status/1771238392627335418?s=20

Statistically, it wasn’t as dominant as Starocci’s 11-0 major of Lewis at Rec Hall at the NWCA All-Star Classic. But given the stakes and the context of Starocci’s injury, it will certainly do. 

Starocci would have been the top seed had he competed at the Big Ten championships earlier this month in College Park, Maryland. But coach Cael Sanderson decided to have him injury default out, and as a result, the three-time defending national champ had to get an at-large bid and was seeded ninth. 

As always, the Penn State wrestling legend was a good quote in the post-match interview.

“At this point, it’s dominate or die…,” Starocci said. “There’s not one place in this world I’d rather be than here, so I’m excited to be here.”

When asked about the setback that his injury presented, Starocci said there was no setback. 

“The only setbacks are the setbacks that you allow in your mind,” he said. “So, it was just another day. I get another one tonight, so that’s the focus.”

“There’s no doubt. It’s just, it is what it is. So, I’m here,” Starocci said. 

https://x.com/joesmeltzer775/status/1771239602390507839?s=20

The next step is a semifinal bout with fourth-seeded Shane Griffith of Michigan. The semis begin at 8 on ESPN. 

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