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Penn State Wrestling HC Cael Sanderson Gives Update on Carter Starocci

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Carter Starocci

As always, there are a few storylines for Penn State Wrestling headed into this year’s Big Ten (March 9-10 in Maryland) and National (March 21-23 in Kansas City) Championships.

How many All-Americans will Penn State have?

How many national champs will Penn State have?

Will coach Cael Sanderson and company at an 11th national title in 13 years?

But the biggest question surrounding Penn State wrestling right now is the health of arguably the best pound-for-pound wrestler in the country.

In what could well be his last match at Penn State’s Rec Hall Sunday, Feb. 26, Carter Starocci suffered an injury. The injury was serious enough to where Starocci had to be helped off the mat. It’s been a little more than a week, and Penn State fans are still holding their collective breath.

Starocci has a chance to become a four-time national champ, which is something only five wrestlers have done.

But he only has that chance if he’s healthy enough to compete, and although he does have an extra year of eligibility left due to COVID-19, the fact that he returned for this season surprised people, so his coming back again would be an even bigger surprise.

Sanderson spoke with reporters for the first time since his post-dual presser the day Starocci got hurt, and gave a brief update on Starocci.

“He’s doing pretty good,” Sanderson said. “I don’t know if it’s a situation that me talking really does a lot of good, really. But he’s… what his plans are, they haven’t really changed. He’s still ‘search and destroy,’ basically. Or something like that.”

Sanderson said Starocci’s injury is “like a day-to-day thing.”

“Where he’s getting better significantly over time,” Sanderson said. “So his plan is to do what he does and go compete. That’s something that we’ll have to kind of step in there if we don’t feel like it’s in his best interest. Obviously getting to the nationals is number one and then being at your best at the nationals is number two, so what we have to do to help him do that is the plan.”

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