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Athlete of the Week: Anthony D’Alesio

By Lauren Ritirato, Staff Writer

Anthony D’Alesio made LIU Wrestling history as the first athlete to secure a spot in the Division 1 NCAA Championship. D’Alesio is a junior Sports Management major coming from Youngstown, Ohio, and competes in the 184 lb weight class.

Before he donned the blue and gold singlet, D’Alesio believes that his inspiration was sparked at a young age. 

“I started wrestling when I was around 5 or 6 years old since I’ve been a youngin’, so it’s been my whole life. The inspiration was that I used to watch WWE. I used to wanna do that and I told my parents I wanted to wrestle, so that’s how I ended up wrestling,” D’Alesio said. “My mom was on board, she’s still the biggest fan of it, she loves it– I guess it just worked out in God’s favor.”

Prior to his time at LIU, D’Alesio originally attended West Virginia. After earning Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team in his Freshman season, D’Alesio decided to transfer. Looking for a new place to call home, he says that the instant connection he experienced with the coaches was his main reason for deciding to transfer to LIU.  

“The coaches, they’re great people, they understand that people go through ups and downs in life outside of wrestling. You have ups and downs with your family, people around you, your friends, girlfriend, whatever it could be. They just took a chance when I was going through some of my downs and they brought me up,” he said. 

Despite setbacks, D’Alesio’s dedication to his sport never dulled. 

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life,” he admits. “In high school, I was a big recruit. I was a state champion, I committed to West Virginia because it was close to home and they are important to me. So I wanted to be close to my people and then things didn’t work out for various reasons. Then I met Joe [Patrovich] and Jesse [Dellavecchia] and they gave me a chance and made things happen.”

Transitioning to LIU marked a turning point for D’Alesio’s wrestling career.  

“It’s been great. Honestly, it’s been great here. My teammates, the friends I’ve met, the teachers, the programs, everything around here has been great. This school is on the come up and I’m glad to be part of it and help it grow,” he said.

Courtesy of LIU Athletics

In his time at Post, there have been lessons learned at every tournament. 

“You learn lots of things by being a part of this sport. When I was at the tournament and saw the best guys in the country and saw the biggest schools– we are just like them, there was no difference. Honestly, I think we’re better,” D’Alesio said. “That’s really all I take away from it. That it doesn’t really matter where you come from, it matters how bad you want it.” 

D’Alesio played a pivotal role in competing in the EIWA Championship and ultimately secured the NCAA Championship appearance with his win at Maximus Hale, making LIU Wrestling history. 

“Honestly, it was a bad tournament for me, I could’ve done better and we know that. It was great to make history and do the things but it also didn’t go as planned, it also went worse than we thought it was going to go. We thought I was going to be in the finals or the semis,” he admitted. “So we had our ups and downs again just like I said earlier it’s always ups and downs and then you just gotta pick your moments and go. I knew how important it was to just our team to show them that it’s possible, the program, and they just grow. It was surreal, we did it. That was cool.”

D’Alesio secured an appearance in the NCAA Championship, where he tasted victory and defeat. 

“The first match was cool,” he recalls. “It was cool being out there in front of I don’t even know how many fans. I couldn’t even hear. And to rep LIU there too so they see that on national television. To see the LIU symbol anywhere, people will start to see that and they will understand that we’re coming up. I thought I could’ve done way better. We’re going to get back in the room, we’re going to work harder. Next year we are going to make more history, that’s the plan, to keep making history, no matter what.”

Family comes first for the Ohio native.

“My biggest goal is to make my mother smile. Whatever it takes to make her smile, and to make her smile is going to make me win a national title. The long-term goal is to have my dad shake my hand and be proud of me. We went through some ups in high school where I was at the top at one point and then we went through some downs when I was trying to figure my life out and now we are back to going back up,” D’Alesio humbly said.

While D’Alesio is proud to be the first Shark to secure the NCAA championship appearance for the team, he has his standards set high and strives to keep winning. 

“When we go [to the EIWA Championships] next year, we will have a couple more kids on our team that are going to come with me. So we are going to keep just getting better and then eventually, we’ll be on the map.”

D’Alesio would like to give a big shout-out and thank you to Drew Witham, John Dusza, Jessie Dellavecchia, John Arceri and Joe Patrovich for their continued support.

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