Everything Coming Up Roses for Obinna Nwakeze

Obinna Nwakeze is on a roll that would make even the New York Jets envious.

Already an All-American and two-time prep school State champion, the Rye Country Day senior is putting together another dominant season for the wrestling team. Nwakeze is a perfect 15-0 this year in the 285-pound weight class, and is set on completing the season undefeated with title grabs at both the Fairchester Athletic Association and State tournaments.

Obinna Nwakeze

“I have watched Obinna mature into one of the toughest wrestlers that I have coached in over 20 years,” said wrestling head coach Rich Knazik. “He has a quiet and cool way about him, but on the mat he is all business. Obinna has big plans for himself this year.”

As impressive as his mat skills are, Nwakeze is arguably even better in the football trenches. He was an offensive and defensive lineman for the Wildcats, and was recently selected to the Westchester Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s Golden Dozen Scholar Athlete Team.

“I am honored to be named because it acknowledges the hard work I put into both sports and academics,” said Nwakeze. “At times after practice, I can be very tired; however, my parents have always considered academics a priority so I try to do well and remain focused.”

It’s that blend of aptitude in the classroom and brilliance on the gridiron that has Nwakeze following in his older sister’s Ivy League footsteps. The 17-year-old will attend Yale University – his top choice – in the fall, where he’ll play on the defensive line for the Bulldogs.

“Obinna is the type of student-athlete that just isn’t content excelling in one area,” said RCDS football coach John Calandros. “His acceptance to Yale is a testament to him and the hard work he put in each and every day to not only be the best athlete or best student, but both.”

His sister, Chiamaka, is currently a senior at Harvard, so there is a good possibility of sibling trash talk. Although Obinna and Chiamaka will split on college loyalty, they – along with younger brother Chibueze – will always have something in common. Their parents, Agatha and Peter, are Igbo from Nigeria and gave all three children traditional Nigerian names. They also instilled an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

“I plan on studying Biology at Yale, and some languages, maybe Spanish or Chinese,” said Nwakeze, an avid reader. “I also want to pursue premedical studies because I’m interested in becoming a surgeon – possibly an orthopedic surgeon.”

In his spare time, Nwakeze enjoys hanging out with his friends and following the New York Giants. He lists HBO hit “Entourage” as his favorite television show, and was wowed by the critically acclaimed film, “The Hurt Locker”.

Nwakeze came to Rye Country Day in seventh grade, and has wrestled and played football for the school ever since. Now in the twilight of his Wildcat athletic career, he fondly recalls placing 7th in the heavyweight division at Nationals last year as a moment he’ll remember forever. Of course, at the rate Nwakeze is going, there’s a good chance that achievement will be eclipsed at this year’s Nationals.


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