Major: Recreation, Park and Tourism Management
Hometown: Erie, Pa.
Penn State Career
Starocci has compiled a career record of 71-2 while wrestling for Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions. This includes being undefeated in both his first (2019-2020) and third (2021-2022) seasons with Carter going on to win back-to-back NCAA titles the last two years.
Carter is a two time All-American, a Big Ten champion, and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2021.
So far this season, Starocci is off to a 15-0 record with a career high 80% bonus point percentage.
Prior to Penn State
Before landing in University Park, Starocci was a stellar wrestler for Cathedral Prep in Erie, Pennsylvania. There he was a four year letterman, a four year captain, and compiled a career record of 172-10 for the Ramblers.
Carter placed his freshman year, finished runner-up his sophomore season, and won back-to-back state titles in both his junior and senior year. During this run in his last two years, Starocci pieced together a perfect 96-0 record and he was twice awarded academic honors.
Prior to racking up records at Cathedral Prep, Starocci’s interest in wrestling came from him watching his cousins and older brother, Christopher, wrestle and in him listening to his dad review and breakdown their matches on film. Carter’s own wrestling journey began with the Team Erie Vipers when he was just three years old!
Carter’s mom, Starla, shared some details of his early years in wrestling.
"“Carter attended practices with the intent on watching but he always ended up rolling around on the mat with everyone else. At the age of 4 he entered his first novice tournament and did very well, after only a few (4-5 yr old) novice matches under his belt he soon started wrestling double (6-7 yr olds) and triple (8-9 yr old) brackets. We would be at tournaments when it was still dark outside from the early morning to very late nights, almost every weekend up until high school. At 4 years old, Carter was a very skinny kid with long legs, and small hands! I remember a few of his opponents on the 8-9 year old bracket would look at him and laugh thinking they had an easy win because of his size but when they got on that mat they soon found out that this young, skinny kid with long legs had the strength of a bear and heart of a Lion.” -Starla Starocci"
Carter comes from a very athletic family as Christopher was also a highly competitive wrestler, however his true passion was football. Carter’s older brother was the quarterback for both Strong Vincent and Cathedral Prep.
Ceciana (Ceci), Carter’s older sister, was a great swimmer for St. George and played basketball and ran track for McDowell. Ceci trained with her brothers and according to Starla, was actually Carter’s toughest wrestling partner.
“I’m always humble in victory or defeat. If you see my matches after I win 99% of them, I’m not flexing to the crowd. But if I win a big match I’ll show some emotion because it means a lot. I’m confident, I know my abilities and it’s excitement. That’s just who I am as a person.”
On more than one occasion, the sibling rivalry would spill out onto the basketball court where Chris and Carter would go one-on-one until the early morning hours as Carter would refuse to quit unless the score was even or he was winning.
Starla elaborates on her son’s competitive nature, “Carter doesn’t like to lose at ANYTHING, so his daily routine is to work on getting better, faster and stronger”, she continues, “He is dedicated to eating clean, staying healthy and working out while looking for ways of improving in other areas to become a better version of himself on and off the mat.”
Away from wrestling Starocci has a collection of different books he enjoys reading. His favorites are the inspirational and motivational books and he enjoys spending time with his family and remains close to his siblings today. Carter always finds joy in working with kids to help them with tips on bettering their skills and techniques.
But does Carter know his way around a kitchen? You better believe it! Starocci transfers into a gourmet chef and he finds great passion in preparing healthy meals that look good and, just as important, taste good.
"“I will always remember the day his dad and I dropped off our little boy at the Penn State University campus as a college freshman. When I pull up today in State College, I am a proud mom, so grateful to watch him compete at this level and accomplish his short term goals, while working on creating new ones! I have instilled in my children at a very young age to always keep God first in everything you do, to appreciate the very small things in life in order to prepare for the bigger ones! This journey is truly a blessing and with HIS favor there is so much more to come. All praises to the Most High.” -Starla Starocci"