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‘You Have to Show up and Show Out…’: Penn State Wrestling Legend Carter Starocci Responds to Pat Downey’s Claim

Iowa wrestler Nelson Brands vs. Penn State's Carter Starocci (Photo by Penn State Athletics)

Penn State wrestling legend Carter Starocci wrestled Pat Downey in his first match at 86 KG for this year’s U.S. Olympic Trials held in Happy Valley.

The match was more hyped up than a usual bout, due to each doing their respective smack talk. 


Starocci ended up outlasting Downey, who ran out of gas after getting out to a 4-1 lead.

Downey ended up losing 12-4, and him not having the conditioning to sustain his hot start was what Starocci expected. 

“That was part of the gameplan,” he told reporters late Friday morning. “I mean, I knew he was going to get tired, obviously. His lifestyle’s kind of all over the place. So that’s just one of the side effects to having a lifestyle like that, so yeah, I mean, it’s just another wrestling match honestly.”

Downey made headlines after the bout with his take on it. 

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.”

Anybody who knows anything about Carter Starocci knew he’d have an entertaining response to this, and he didn’t disappoint.

“Yeah, I mean, if I was 6 foot 4 and I was 280 pounds and I went to bed early and I didn’t talk to any girls, I’d be in the NFL,” Starocci said, drawing laughs from the gathered reporters, “you know what I mean? So, there’s all types of ‘what ifs’ and all this other stuff, so at the end of the day, you have to show up and show out, and he didn’t do that.”

Starocci, who fell to Trent Hidlay in the quarterfinal and then forfeited out of the trials, feels this type of hype he and Downey generated before the bout is good for wrestling.

“I like it, though, you know what I mean?” he said. “Because it’s all part of the entertainment, I think, as a sport. In wrestling, they do a terrible job with growing the sport and all that extra stuff, so I think there’s ways to go about it. I think he’s a little over the top with it, but I mean, again, I think it’s better than nothing.”

After the loss, Downey– who forfeited out of his first consolation bout– had a lot to say on social media (with some, but not all of it having anything to do with Starocci.

Overall, Starocci feels the people running wrestling could be doing more to grow the sport. 

“I didn’t even know there was a press conference going on,” he said. “If I didn’t love and care about my teammates, I wouldn’t be here watching wrestling. It’s 10 in the morning. I don’t want to get up and watch wrestlers. I just think there’s a much better way to do things, but I’m not the guy in charge.”

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