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Carter Starocci Returning to Penn State Wrestling for Final Season

Penn State wrestler Carter Starocci is returning to the Nittany Lions in 2024-25 for a run at an unprecedented fifth national title.

After indicating in April that he was leaning towards returning for his final year of eligibility, the four-time NCAA champion confirmed his decision Wednesday night in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“As everyone knows, this year was difficult as I had to deal with many things both on and off the mat,” Starocci wrote. “Even though this season ended with me on top of the podium, I was not satisfied. I’m here to take over. With one year of eligibility left, I want to end my collegiate career on my terms. Healthy, in style and in a dominant fashion. With this in mind, I’m excited to announce that I will be returning to Penn State to bring another national title to State College, Pennsylvania.”

Starocci could become the first wrestler to win five NCAA titles .

He joined teammate Aaron Brooks as the sixth and seventh wrestlers ever to win four individual NCAA championships when he won the 174-pound title in March in Kansas City.

It wasn’t an easy route to get there. Starocci has reeled off 64 consecutive victories dating back to 2021, but sustained a knee injury during the last of those in the regular season finale against Edinboro in February. He injury defaulted out of the Big Ten Championships, ending the streak and dropping to the No. 9 seed at the NCAA tournament.

Wrestling with a heavily wrapped leg, Starocci helped Penn State to a third consecutive team title as he defeated two former NCAA champions en route to beating Ohio State’s Rocco Welsh in the final.

Prior to the 2023-24 season, Starocci said it was likely but not definite that it would be his last collegiate campaign. But despite winning another title, the injury left a sour taste, and he told reporters at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in April that he was “about 60/40 coming back now.” (He redshirted in 2020 and has an extra year of eligibility granted to all NCAA athletes in 2020 because of COVID-19)

Starocci exited the Olympic Trials after a loss to Trent Hidlay in his second challenge tournament bout at 86kg.

Through five seasons with the Nittany Lions, including unattached tournament action during his redshirt year in 2019-20, the Erie native has a collegiate record of 93-4, with two of those losses being the injury defaults and two coming during his redshirt freshman year.