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Penn State Wrestling Star Hints at Return for Nationals

For a while, it looked like Penn State wrestling star Carter Starocci’s path to a fourth national championship would be straightforward.

Starocci entered his last match of the regular season against Edinboro at Rec Hall late last month on top of the college wrestling world.

He had won three straight national titles and was dominating everybody against this year.

Then, he got hurt. The injury was serious enough that Starocci needed to be helped off the mat, and concern immediately set in. How serious was they injury? Would Starocci be able to compete at the Big Ten Championships in College Park, Maryland, less than two weeks later. Would he be able to defend his national title less than two weeks after that?

This past weekend, Starocci wasn’t able to go for his third straight Big Ten title, with coach Cael Sanderson electing to sit him out.

Sanderson explained his decision to Nate Cobler of the Center Daily Times after the first day of Big Tens concluded Saturday night.

“There’s just no reason, when he meets the criteria to get an at-large (bid), to put himself in a position to set himself back,” Sanderson said.

That was predicable. But the rest of Sanderson’s answer, while not shocking, is more compelling.

“He wanted to wrestle the whole tournament and was planning on wrestling the tournament,” Sanderson said. “It is really tough for him. He’s having a hard time about this. He’d wrestle if both of his legs were hurt. He’s just so competitive. He’s pretty upset…

“He’s not happy with me but that’s why he’s Carter Starocci.”
After midnight Sunday morning, Starocci sent a post to X (formerly Twitter) that got a lot of people talking.
“Looking forward to a new chapter,” Starocci wrote. “Thank you Penn State forever.”

That post concerned Penn State wrestling fans, and many wondered if it meant people had seen the last of Starocci in a Penn State singlet.
Fans were much happier with what Starocci posted on the same account late Monday afternoon.

“Big ten title is cool,” Starocci wrote, “but NCAA title is cooler.

Next chapter: Kansas City.”
That post hints at what Starocci’s intentions are.
Now, Starocci’s injury is still worth monitoring and it’s not 100 percent official yet that he will compete because of that.
But Starocci indicated in that tweet what he plans to do.

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