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Penn State Wrestling’s Carter Starocci Trying To End Season With ‘Killer’ Mindset

In Penn State’s recent dual against Michigan State on January 22, redshirt junior Carter Starocci made his way to the mat with the eerie theme song of the “Halloween” movie franchise playing throughout Rec Hall.

The fans in attendance were puzzled by the selection, but Starocci then made another interesting choice for a walk-out song a week later in the recent BJC Dual against Iowa with a track from the “Purge” movie album to follow his ascent to the stage.

While some of his teammates opt for something a little more upbeat, Starocci got the idea from basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

“I heard him say Michael Myers is a killer, he is not too happy, he is not too low, he is going to just walk out at you and kill you every time,” Starocci said. “I was like — that was pretty hard.”

This mentality has served Starocci well, as he won a close 2-1 bout over Iowa’s No. 16 Nelson Brands on January 27. No takedowns were awarded in the bout, so it came down to the riding time bonus point for the Nittany Lion in the win.

While this wasn’t the ideal situation during Friday’s dual, everything is a learning experience for the defending Big Ten champion.

“I think that was a good match for myself and the team,” Starocci said. “There [are] always adjustments that need to be made, and a lot of times it’s not just technical errors. It’s weight cut and things off the mat that needs to be adjusted.”

Despite Penn State also having almost 16,000 fans behind it in back-to-back weeks, it doesn’t make a difference in the preparation or performance for Starocci.

“When you go out there on the mat it’s no different,” Starocci said. “It could be in front of no one, it could be in front of everybody, millions, 10,000 — it really doesn’t matter.”

Starocci is also getting some trash talk from incoming Iowa recruit Gabe Arnold. The 2023 graduate is already talking about taking Starocci down when his time comes.

“I don’t think he is looking forward to that,” Starocci said. “If he can kiss enough butt and get in the starting lineup, I’ll take care of business there.”

In addition to being a back-to-back NCAA National Champion, Starocci is 11-0 on the season, while being 4-0 in the Big Ten. But, there is still plenty up for grabs heading into the final stretch.

“We have six weeks and [one] day until the big show, so it’s going by quick,” Starocci said.

As the regular season will draw to a close for the Nittany Lions in two weeks on February 19 against Clarion, all eyes are looking toward the postseason.

Starting Friday, Starocci has two bouts against No. 7 Ethan Smith from Ohio State and No. 15 Donnell Washington from Indiana.

Starocci has also made it known that he’ll be taking his vengeance out this weekend against both opponents.

“There is no emotion involved. It’s business as usual,” Starocci said. “I’ll let [Washington] know when I’m whooping his butt that I’m the king.”

The three-dual away stretch for the Nittany Lions will surely be a test, but Starocci is nothing short of self-assured.

“This is revenge week versus Indiana, so it will be a good one,” Starocci said.

Starocci and the rest of the Nittany Lions will face No. 10 Ohio State at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 3, in Columbus before their next dual against Indiana at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 5.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a sophomore staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs at the Linc. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected]

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