You’ll have to excuse Nick Allegretti for missing some time on the mat. The Lincoln-Way East senior was manning the offensive line in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Allegretti, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound Illinois recruit, traveled to San Antonio to play center for the East squad in a game that calls Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy and Andrew Luck some of its past alum.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to say I played in that game,” Allegretti said. “It was a tremendous experience going with the best offensive lineman and playing against the best defensive lineman in the country.”
Allegretti’s squad lost 28-6, but the game itself meant little compared to the rest of the weekend. He pointed to time spent with his roommate — running back Elijah Hood, a North Carolina recruit who scored 53 touchdowns as a senior — and the “rolling-duffel bag” full of swag he received as highlights of the trip.
The most rewarding part?
He and around 20 teammates stopped by the city’s Methodist Children’s Hospital to visit the leukemia ward. For Allegretti, the trip struck a special chord because his older brother, Joey, was diagnosed with leukemia nearly seven years prior to the day of the visit.
“It was something my brother had in the past, so I was really able to connect with the kids,” Allegretti said, noting Joey, 21, is now in great health. “It was the most memorable part of the whole trip. As soon as we walked in, some of the kids couldn’t stop smiling. It made us feel really good to be able to do something nice for someone.”
That selfless attitude doesn’t come as a surprise to Lincoln-Way East wrestling coach Tyrone Byrd.
“He’s definitely a good kid on and off the mat,” Byrd said. “He’s the type of individual who makes the right decisions.”
Allegretti seems to be making more of the right decisions during competition. Byrd said the returning state qualifier has been more aggressive during matches, something he only showed flashes of as a junior.
Allegretti’s steamrolled most of his opponents. He’s currently ranked No. 4 in Class 3A by Illinois MatMen, and his lone defeat came via Hinsdale Central’s Brian Allen — the reigning state champ and a fellow Army All-American — by a 3-1 decision in the finals of the 32-team Berman Classic.
As comfortable as Allegretti is on the mat, he’s just as at home in the classroom. The senior totes a 4.64 GPA on a 4.0 scale while taking classes that include AP Calculus, AP Economics and AP Statistics.
“When you talk about being a well-rounded individual,” Byrd said, “he takes the cake.”
Allegretti said he will take six credit hours this summer with hopes of having 26 credit hours going into his freshman year.First things first, though, Allegretti is focused on leaving his mark with the wrestling team.
“Wrestling is an unbelievable sport,” he said. “Even if I end up on top of the podium (at state), I’ll be heartbroken because wrestling is something special and I’ll miss it. You’re never pushed harder in any sport. I’m looking forward to D-I football, but wrestling is the the hardest thing I’ll ever be a part of.”