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March 19, 2022

Carter Starocci

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Media Conference

174 pounds

Carter Starocci (Penn State) d. Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech)

Q. Big Ten Championship final, you made a very correct statement about this wouldn't be close because you guys were a lot better than Michigan. To be right and saying something with so much confidence, being so true, how confident were you when you made that statement at the Big Ten tournament?

CARTER STAROCCI: I mean, I think I think Michigan has a very good team. They have great coaches with a lot of good athletes. Just because they've got that one doesn't really mean anything. I believe we're the best team in the world, through and through. And we train like it. We act like it and we believe it. That's just what it is.

Q. Obviously you expressed confidence all year long. That was a really hard-fought match right there. But in your mind was this moment a guarantee from day one?

CARTER STAROCCI: Yeah, I mean, I wrestled this match a million times in my head before. I mean, it's not my first rodeo. I've been here before. Trust my faith in God. I have his presence, his gifts, his love. That's really all I really need. And just go out there, perform and have fun.

Q. This was a very, very intense match, went to ultimate tiebreaker criteria. And what were some things that you do to clear your mind and kind of cancel out the chaos that's going around you and maybe inside of you?

CARTER STAROCCI: These fans really don't mean anything. They're all drunk. They're not really doing anything. I don't care what anyone thinks. I just tune everything out. I do my thing and wrestle. It doesn't bother me. Doesn't bother my teammates as well. We're all composed and focused.

Lewis scored more points. He was being real defensive, he was backing up a lot. But that's something I work on and improve and just keep getting better.

Q. Winning your second individual title how big is it to win that (indiscernible) team title? And to have two of your brothers winning it before you?

CARTER STAROCCI: It's always cool watching your brothers. I remember last year I was in the bleachers watching them, (indiscernible) and I was real fired up. I almost got a little too tired for my match. This time I was kind of just chilling, laying low, focusing on my match. I was so happy for them on the inside with my energy, but I have to get my job done to help the team. That's going to put a smile on their face too, so it's kind of doing my job and being a leader in that way.

Q. Looked like he pushed the pace up there pretty good. Did you catch a foot in the mat? Did you just trip?

CARTER STAROCCI: He was pretty strong on that one. He kind of grabbed me pretty good on the go. That was a good little whip. I think my feet might have got caught but that was a good move on his part. And I have to respond a little better and get to my attacks.

Q. You seemed to push the pace. You get the stall warning in overtime but I think that set you up in the ride-out period because if you get to your feet he's got to let you go, right?

CARTER STAROCCI: I wasn't [inaudible] and I can wrestle all night. So I mean that doesn't really mean anything.

Q. You've got two NCAA titles now, perfect record this season. What's the next step for you, do you think?

CARTER STAROCCI: World title is next. Anyone and everyone is getting taken out. World title is next, then get back to folkstyle, keep getting better and improving.

Q. The world is watching, Bo Nickal said, come to Penn State, that's what we do, we win titles. Is that why you came to Penn State?

CARTER STAROCCI: There's a lot of reasons I came to Penn State. I want to be the best wrestler in the world. I want to be the best version of myself. And I believe those coaches cannot only help me be a better wrestler, (indiscernible) the whole decision; these coaches hold you to a high standard off the mat too, which helps you grow as a person. That's the bigger picture.

And I mean this is what I trained for. This is why we do it. We don't come here to not win. Everyone wants to win but not everyone truly wants to win. You can kind of see how it (indiscernible) wrestling.

Q. During the match, did you feel at any time Mekhi was starting to get a little tired and backing up a little bit, but he's so good at reattacks; were you thinking that in your mind before you hit your shots?

CARTER STAROCCI: I know he was very counter. He backed up -- I don't think he took a step forward unless I was pulling on him. But he wasn't really looking to generate offense, just trying to keep it close.

That's his style. That's something that I'll improve on, I'll work on. I'll watch the tape, look it over with Coach Casey, we'll learn and grow.

They won't get close next time. We'll just keep improving in all areas, not for Mekhi, but for myself.

Q. Yesterday you said I'm here for Erie -- everyone works hard there. You work hard there. What's this mean for you, just Erie itself, you've given back a lot already, going back to camps and stuff. What does it mean that you're now Carter going back to Erie?

CARTER STAROCCI: It means a lot. I remember when I was a little kid, I was watching my dad and brother football teams, they won every single game.

I wasn't playing football, I was always wrestling. They were blowing everybody out, 77-0. I'm like this is like a video game.

I watched my dad grandpa just watch countless hours of film. They wouldn't take a loss for an answer. And I was, like, I want to be like that but even better. So I kind of got that drive from a young age and just wanted to be the best version of myself.

And I just know what it felt like. I was always asking questions, and I would kind of get guys helping me out. I'd get guys trying to help out, trying to (indiscernible) stuff.

I looked to help give back because I do a lot of studying, I asked a lot of questions of my coaches because I don't know everything. I learn from anybody. So I just try to help out and it will help me in the long run.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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