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‘He Talks a lot About my Teammate…”: Penn State Wrestling Commit ‘Very Proud’ After Beating Gabe Arnold

Penn State Wrestling

Penn State wrestling commit Zack Ryderwould have been ecstatic to make it to the U.S. U20 World Team regardless of who he had to beat to get there.

Beating Iowa’s Gabe Arnold was a bonus.

To be clear, Ryder respects Arnold, telling reportersafter his triumph that he feels Arnold is a “great wrestler.”

But Ryder has yet to forget what Arnold wrote about one of his future teammates two winters ago.

“Overrated,” Arnold, then a blue-chip Iowa commit, tweeted the night of Penn State and Iowa’s 2023 dual meet at the Bryce Jordan Center. “I said what I said #seeyousoon.”



The wrestler Arnold called “overrated” was none other than Carter Starocci.

Back then, Starocci was a two-time national champ.

Now, he’s a four-time champ.

Then and now, Starocci isn’t one to hold back from speaking his mind.

Not long after sending the tweet, Arnold explained himself to FloWrestling.


“Carter Starocci is one of the best at 174 pounds,” Arnold said, “and that’s who I have in my mirror every single day. That’s who I see. That’s who I’m going to beat next year. So, these are goals that I have set for myself, and whether people like me or not, I honestly could care less. But my goal is to beat Carter Starocci. My goal is to be a 2024 NCAA national champ at 174 pounds. So, by any means necessary, that is what I will do. So, hate me or love me, I’m Gabe Arnold.”

Later, Starocci had a chance to offer a response, and, boy, did he.

”If you can kiss enough butt and get in the starting lineup,” Starocci told reporters, “I’ll take care of business there, and it’ll be in his home dojo, too. He can get whooped in front of his mom and dad. So, that’ll be fun.”

Starocci, who is entering his last season of eligibility, and Arnold, who redshirted his freshman campaign and didn’t compete against Penn State wrestling in Iowa City, have yet to face off.

When Ryder had the chance to wrestle Arnold in a best-of-three series at 79KG, he beat him, first 5-4 and then 4-2, and loved it.

“I wanted to prove a point out here. Gabe Arnold, he talks a lot about my teammate, Carter Starocci,” Ryder told reporters afterward. “I just took him out, so I’m very proud of myself.”

It remains to be seen whether Starocci and Arnold ever wrestle, but Ryder feels he has a good idea of how that matchup would go.

“Carter Starocci is a beast,” Ryder said. “He’ll take anybody’s heads off that’s in front of him.”

A reporter then asked if Ryder was saying he thinks Starocci would “blow the doors off” Arnold if they met.

“Yes, I do. I’m saying that,” Ryder said, followed by a brief laugh.

Ryder attributed his success to on the mat “God’s strength that he gave me.”

“Ever since I was young,” he said, “I just had that strength, that… I don’t know where it came from. It’s god-given.”

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