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March 18, 2023

Carter Starocci

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

BOK Center

Finals Media Conference

174 pounds

Q. What are your initial emotions and feelings on being a three-time national champ?

CARTER STAROCCI: During the interview the other day I said, close matches, we'll see if that's close now. It feels good. I just joined some elite company at Penn State. I believe I was that guy from day one. I walked in the room. I was starting to fight through all those guys that were already big dogs.

But it feels good. And this is not where the train stops. Back in the gym on Monday. And I'm excited to watch Aaron, Greg and Roman do their thing, it's cool watching them do it rather than me doing it.

Q. [Off microphone]

CARTER STAROCCI: That's pretty cool. I like watching his interviews because he's a big personality and he kind of, and he has a set of big balls, I like how his mind works. Pretty big being with him.

Q. (Inaudible)?

CARTER STAROCCI: It was time to bring it back. I thought it was necessary when I was walking out to that during the Penn State matches I was feeling that vibe. And it's just straight killer. I'm not too big, not too low. I'm going to walk at you and I'm going to come forward. I said, let's see who takes the first backstep. I didn't take any backsteps. That's what it's all about.

Q. I thought Mikey was going to throw the kitchen sink at you.

CARTER STAROCCI: We cleaned those pots and pans, didn't we? He's a tough kid. I really respect Mikey. He's a wrestler that wants to wrestle. And I love guys like that. So all hats off to Mikey. He's a tough competitor.

I've been seeing him every single year. He's not a guy that's only on this stage when he's a junior or senior. He was top three when he was a freshman, sophomore. Hats off to Mikey, he's a solid competitor. I hope he sticks around for the freestyle scene so we can keep going at it.

Q. (Indiscernible) wish they hadn't called the pin, hadn't called the pin so early. You wanted to drag him in deep waters. Tell me more about that mindset and how that felt out there not just win but really win?

CARTER STAROCCI: It feels good getting a pin, but I wanted to drag him in deep waters and feel his soul leave of his body and just keep coming after him, and him realizing there's nothing left in the tank and I'm still coming. That kind of gets me going. I like that feeling.

But it's cool getting a pin but I love wrestling, this is what I do every day. I enjoy being out there and under the lights. That's where I thrive.

Q. I don't know you that well, where did this confidence start? Do you remember how young you were that you had such a confidence to take on these two or three timers and become one of them?

CARTER STAROCCI: I'm not in this sport to say another guy can beat me. I'm here to take out everybody. I'm giving coaches looks from other teams. It really doesn't matter. It's kind of when I had it that switch you hit that light switch when you turn it on it's fair game for everybody. So as I matured through my life I learned how to manage that switch. But when it's on it's everybody's ticket.

Q. The (indiscernible) key guy (inaudible) few years the ability to come back and thrive at the championships, crazy goal. Anything cross your mind?

CARTER STAROCCI: Everyone is talking about it. And everyone asks me about that. But it's not something that excites me. I kinda want to be a four-timer, and how the Olympics fall, that will be next year, my senior year.

If I come back and wrestle next year we'll see. We'll take a day -- I plan on winning the Olympics, that's where my head is.

After I complete something like that, it's kind of like you're not going to want to come back to this. So you see what Gable, he's doing his things now. But we'll see. I enjoy the sport. I love it but I also love fighting. And I see Bo Nickal eating those dudes like it's candy. It's pretty easy. I think that game's a lot easier. So we'll just take it a day at a time.

Q. Three championships, two losses, what does it mean that you become so dominant?

CARTER STAROCCI: I don't have any losses because those two that you're talking about, I avenged those, plus some. So I didn't even the score, I upped the score. In my book I'm undefeated. It feels good. I look back and I watch Max Dean's interview. I'm in the hotel bed, I'm like I'm getting all softened up, almost tearing up, like, having a guy like that on your team and our coaches and just hearing that interview, just it really puts in perspective that's something you guys really can't see or can't feel unless you're experiencing it. And just what Penn State's doing over there is a lot deeper than wrestling. I know we talk about having fun all the time, it may sound like they're having fun or whatever, but I love those guys with all my heart, and they've helped make me the man I am. And I'm just grateful to be in that community.

Q. Are you an athlete who could take wrestling to a whole different level just because of your personality?

CARTER STAROCCI: I think my skill set's there, too. I think I'll take it wherever I want to take it. Yeah, I think it's more skill than personality because you're not getting your hand raised in those matters.

Q. Perfect season for you, perfect season for Penn State. What are the intangibles (inaudible) to what you guys did this year?

CARTER STAROCCI: It's day in and day out work. I call it all day long work. I'm in the gym. It's two in the morning, three in the morning, 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. I'm thinking about it all day long. And if it's not physical practice, I'm watching film. If it's not film, I'm getting massage; if it's not massage, I'm meditating or stretching or I'm at a dance class or something like that. It's always all day work or I'm doing my nutrition.

It's a lot going on. After you win these matches, all of a sudden, Saturday night, now it's over. But on Friday and Thursday, after you get those wins, it's back to the hotel and you're getting your weight down.

And those nights can be up to, like, it's two in the morning, four in the morning. I got like three hours of sleep last night. But that gold medal doesn't care how I feel, my elbow or knee feels, it doesn't care. And I don't care either. That's why I come in and always ready no matter what.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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