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Pat Downey After Loss to Penn State Wrestling Legend Carter Starocci: ‘I’d Tech-Fall That Dude if I’m Fresh’

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Carter Starocci

**Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Pat Downey wrestled Carter Starocci in the a torn MCL and broken rib. This is not confirmed to be true, rather mistaken for an MMA fight Downey competed in that Starocci referenced in the lead up to their match.


Pat Downey had a lot to say before and after his bout against Penn State wrestling legend Carter Starocci during the first session of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials Friday at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Before the bout, Downey accused “Penn State guys” of “making excuses” for Starocci, who competed at 86 despite many expecting him to compete at 74 KG.

“The Penn State guys making excuses for him, Downey told FloWrestling, “calling him undersized, you can’t physically make 163 lbs in wrestling that day so…you are not undersized…you are my size.”

Starocci later posted a clip of Downey, who’s also an MMA Fighter, being knocked out by Christian Echols.

Downey they posted a screenshot of Burroughs’s Instagram battle with Starocci and wrote:

“never met this kid @carterstarocci before & i already don’t like em. it will be my pleasure to teach him some manners on behalf of the 🐐🐐🐐 @alliseeisgold 🤝”

The moment of truth came late Friday morning, and for a while, Downey looked good, going up 4-1.

But Starocci fought back and ended up wining 12-4.

For Downey, who pointed out that this was the first time he made “scratch” weight for an event in more than two years, he would have not only beat Starocci, but tech-falled him, had he been “fresh.”

“I mean, no doubt about it,” he told reporters after the bout. “But, I mean, I’m limited with what I have. So I’m trying to conserve and use energy sparingly.”

Downey then vowed that he’d return, and was supposed to later by facing another Penn State wrestling great in Mark Hall.

But Downey didn’t show up for the bout and Hall won via forfeit.

“But if there’s anything you guys can take away from it, it’s just self belief. It’s carried me a long way. It’s gotten me to this level, and I’m not going to stop believing in myself just because of a performance like that. I didn’t leave my shoes on the mat. I’ll be back.”

Starocci, meanwhile, fell to former NC State star Trent Hidlay 6-4.

For Downey, Starocci, who suffered a serious knee injury less than a month before winning his fourth national title, was “a lot weaker than I thought he’d be” but made up for it with a high pace.

“That’s with the cardio,” Downey said, “that’s what you feel out there when you’re moving, kind of react to this guy constantly.

“Credit where it’s due. You know, he had a good pace.”

Downey also complimented Penn State, saying the program and Nittany Lion Wrestling Club are “arguably the best in the world.”

“They could put a team together as a world team or an Olympic team,” he said. “They could compete with Team USA and Russia.”

Starocci himself is known for not being shy about speaking his mind.

Downey, a self-described street kid from Baltimore who’s had quite an intriguing backstory that includes multiple arrests and a dismissal from the Iowa State wrestling team, also loves to talk trash.

“I’m a freak,” he said. “I’m just tough as shit, and I believe in myself… if you knew the half, you’d be more amazed.”

But Downey said, beef aside, he made sure to congratulate Starocci after the bout.

“I just told him good job,” he said, “good luck in the tournament.”

For Downey, there’s a mutual respect between the two.

“He’s talking his shit, I’m talking mine,” he said. “It’s all good. At the end of the day, it’s all respect. I don’t think anybody’s carrying a type of animosity to the wrestling mat. It’s a big energy depletion, an adrenaline dump.”

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