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Carter Starocci taunts Maryland coach after exchange with Cael Sanderson, Penn State wrestling staff

Penn State wrestling star Carter Starocci fired back at Maryland head coach Alex Clemsen following a heated exchange with Cael Sanderson and the Nittany Lions staff after Sunday’s 42-6 win.



Penn State wrestling, Carter Starocci, Cael Sanderson, Maryland wrestling, Alex Clemsen
Penn State's Carter Starocci talks with coaches while wrestling at 174 pounds during a NCAA Big Ten Conference wrestling dual against Iowa, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. 220127 Penn St Iowa Wr 049 Jpg

Penn State wrestling dominated No. 27 Maryland 42-6 on Sunday. However, the storyline following the win wasn’t so much about what happened on the mat but what took place afterward. After Maryland wrestling head coach Alex Clemsen was visibly unhappy with the Nittany Lions in the post-match handshake line, star wrestler Carter Starocci took to social media to defend Cael Sanderson and the Penn State coaching staff.

Maryland head coach unhappy with Penn State wrestling coaching staff after blowout win

It wasn’t an extremely contentious matchup on the mat Sunday afternoon, but things started to heat up after Penn State wrestling rolled to a lopsided win over the Terrapins in College Park.

Following the dual, the TV broadcast caught Maryland wrestling coach Alex Clemsen, who was clearly quite upset with Cael Sanderson and assistant coach Casey Cunningham. When you rewatch the clip, it is fairly clear that Clemsen shouted, “No, you don’t have to pin,” to the Penn State coaching staff. 

Clemsen’s indignation was most likely directed at the way the bout at 174 ended. Nittany Lions star wrestler Carter Starocci was rolling against Mason Stein of Maryland 18-6 after the first period. Towards the end of the period, though, it appeared that Starocci was purposely not taking down Stein a final time to get the tech fall. In the second period, Starocci was able to start on top and eventually got Stein to his back for the pin.

It seems like Alex Clemsen felt that Carter Starocci should have just finished the match in the first period instead of going for the pin. While we didn’t get to see if Cael Sanderson had any reaction to Clemsen’s comments, Cunningham appeared to have some words for the Maryland head coach before the broadcast cut away. 

Carter Starocci defends Nittany Lions coach on social media

It didn’t take long for the clip to go viral on social media. And almost just as quickly, Carter Starocci came to the defense of Casey Cunningham. “Coach Casey would fold that man like an accordion,” the Penn State wrestling star said, in part, on X Sunday afternoon. 

Whether right or wrong, the “Pin State” legacy was well on display Sunday against the Terrapins. Even without wrestling a full lineup, the Nittany Lions racked up four pins and 18 bonus points in a dual that was never really competitive. 

Penn State wrestling is back in action Friday night when the Nittany Lions welcome No. 16 Ohio State to Rec Hall.

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Former contributor at Nittany Central, Patrick joined Basic Blues Nation in 2023 as the Social Media Director, Penn State Wrestling beat writer, and producer of the Penn State Roar Room spaces. Patrick is also a contributor of Penn State football, basketball, and ice hockey news for the site.


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