Is This the End of Carter Starocci's Penn State Wrestling Career?

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

Cael Sanderson’s Dilemma: Will Carter Starocci Compete for Penn State Wrestling in 2024 NCAA Championships?

Penn State Wrestling was well on their way to winning its second straight Big Ten title following Sessions I and II on Saturday, but that wasn’t the big story of the tournament.

During the first day action of the 2024 Big Ten Wrestling Championships the Nittany Lions had secured a team-record seven guys into the finals and two other wrestlers deep into the consolation bracket with a chance for a third place run.

And in Session II when it came time to see what Carter Starocci would do and what decision would be made in his quarterfinal matchup against Minnesota’s Andrew Sparks, it was no surprise it ended up being an injury forfeit. Carter had badly injured his right knee only two weeks prior in Penn State‘s final dual meet of the season against Edinboro.

The more time Starocci had to heal the better. Because Penn State fans know what really matters. Big Ten titles are nice, but NCAA titles are forever.

However, just after midnight on Sunday morning, Carter Starocci fired off the following tweet.

Making Sense of Carter Starocci’s Statement

Was it a bit cryptic?

Well, of course it was.

But, that just kind of goes along with the territory for incredible athletes like Carter Starocci. Sometimes they say things or post things on social media that make no sense to the general public when in reality their statement was some sort of inner monologue used as motivation or a way to further drive themselves.

Did anyone watch The Last Dance? One of the best athletes and one of the greatest champions the planet has ever seen used small slights and disjointed thinking at times to keep a chip on his shoulder and to make sure the fire that raged inside of him strong so he could continue to crush all comers. So with what Carter posted it could have been along those lines.

But then people started to notice something on his tweet. It said “Mar 10, 2024 from State College, PA”.

Wait, was Carter at home and not with the team?

Later on Sunday morning this was released in an interview with the Centre Daily Times.

And a summary of the timeline and of the information which was known was put together for everyone to see.

Did Carter really go back to State College in the middle of a postseason tournament?

As Nittany Nation witnessed Penn State completely lap the field during Sunday’s conclusion of the 2024 Big Ten Championships, it was apparent that Starocci was indeed not with the team as he was nowhere in the team photo as the wrestlers celebrated their immense accomplishment.


Starocci’s Penn State Wrestling Future Very Much in Doubt

With the information Cael Sanderson gave to the media and with the confirmed timeline of what transpired, then you couple this with an uber-competitive athlete? Well it leads to the exact situation at hand.

And that’s simply the fact that Carter Starocci may have very well wrestled his last match at Penn State.

But before we can even entertain that notion, there are still several factors at play here.

Do high level athletes deal well with injuries which lead them to being held out of competition?

No. No they don’t.

With it potentially being Carter’s last season in Happy Valley and with the chance he could be Penn State’s first ever four-time NCAA Champion and with the injury happening so close to the finish line, could he possibly be a bit emotional about the choice to sit him?

Of course. In the end Starocci is still a college student. Yes he has ice in his veins and his composure on the mat is impeccable, but he’s 23 years old. Do you ever remember making a rash decision when you were 23?

So yeah, Carter Starocci has a bit to deal with at the moment. But the biggest remaining question is whether or not Cael Sanderson and the rest of the Nittany Lion wrestling room can get Carter to see eye-to-eye with them.

And at this point I have no clue what’s going to happen in two weeks. If you had to hold a hotdog to my head, then my guess is that Carter will not compete in the 2024 NCAA’s and his Penn State career will be over.

Which for a guy who had a 60+ match winning streak, a chance for his fourth straight NCAA title, and whispers of becoming the only NCAA wrestler to ever get five titles, it just doesn’t seem like a fitting end.

But hey, Carter Starocci has proven people wrong his whole life. Maybe he’s going to prove me wrong in Kansas City two weekends from now.

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Chris Snyder
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