Penn State Wrestling’s Carter Starocci To Make Decision On Future ‘Soon’

Carter Starocci, a four-time national champion for Penn State wrestling, found himself in the spotlight once again after another week of wrestling and media action. However, Starocci, only the sixth wrestler in NCAA history to win four national titles, may try to navigate another tough offseason on a path to do something no one has done before: win title No. 5.

Just under a month after Starocci and Nittany Lion teammate Aaron Brooks won their fourth national titles, both competed in the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials in the Bryce Jordan Center this past weekend, however, one fared much better than the other.

While Brooks upset the then-No. 1 pound-for-pound wrestler in the world, David Taylor, in the best-of-three finals to earn a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics, Starocci failed to make much of a splash.

After a fairly dominant win to start, Starocci dropped his second match against NC State’s Trent Hidlay to send the Nittany Lion into the consolation bracket, which Starocci elected not to participate in, ending his run on day one.

Now, with the possibility of the Olympics ruled out for Starocci, the question on everyone’s mind was if the four-timer will utilize his last year of eligibility.

“In my last interview, I think I said I’m 60/40 not coming back, but after thinking about it some more, I’m about 60/40 coming back now,” Starocci said Saturday. “I’ll probably have another meeting here soon with coach Cael [Sanderson], and we will plan and work some things out.”

If Starocci were to use his last year of eligibility, only seven wrestlers have ever won four national titles, let alone five, so the possibility of a fifth national championship would put Starocci in a league of his own for years to come.

However, coming before the glory and fame of possibly winning his fifth title, Starocci is focused on the growth and health of his teammates.

“Right now, it’s just my focus to get these guys ready to achieve their dreams and goals with the Olympic Trials and with the Olympics,” Starocci said. “So, my heart is going to be with these guys for now… If they need anything like getting a weight cut or going to the grocery store… I want to do what I can to make sure all these guys are ready.”

In the meantime, Starocci said he has been doing a lot of thinking about his future in collegiate wrestling and to expect a decision from him soon.

“Hopefully I will make the decision soon. Hopefully within the next couple weeks. We just have so many killers in the room now with Levi Haines and [Alex] Facundo not wanting to keep cutting weight… It would be a good thing on my part if I can make the decision soon so the team can start to formulate,” Starocci said.

“I think no matter how the team formulates, no one is coming close to Penn State for a long, long time,” Starocci continued.

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About the Author

Brendan Wagner

Brendan is a Junior majoring in print and media journalism. Born in Pittsburgh, he now lives in Mooresville, North Carolina. As a die-hard Pittsburgh sports fan, you can find him on Twitter, @brchwags, often complaining about the Pittsburgh Steelers and probably Russell Wilson.

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