All-Greater Houston boys wrestler of the year: Chidozie Nwankwo

Photo of Adam Coleman
All-Greater Houston boys wrestler of the year Chidozie Nwankwo of Foster High School, poses with all of his medals.

All-Greater Houston boys wrestler of the year Chidozie Nwankwo of Foster High School, poses with all of his medals.

Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Nothing will stop Foster’s Chidozie Nwankwo from being more famous on the football field than he is on the wrestling mat.

It’s not crazy to suggest the senior is better at the latter, though.

The All-Greater Houston Boys Wrestler of the Year leaves high school as a two-time state champion, finishing his career with gold in the 285-pound class at the UIL state wrestling championships this year. Nwankwo was 22-0 this season. He earned his other gold medal as a sophomore.

So understandably, earning a silver medal as a junior wasn’t good enough for Nwankwo, who used the defeat as fuel for 2020. He lost last year’s match to Highland Park’s Aidan Conner via a 4-3 decision, off a last-second escape for a point. This year’s 285-pound championship match was just as tough, as he defeated Midlothian’s Marshall Hodges in a 2-1 decision.

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Kishawn Higgins,

Katy, Sr., 170 pounds.

Eli Sheeren, Klein,

Jr., 182.


Langston Mayrant,

New Waverly, Sr., 182.

Chidozie Nwankwo,

Foster, Sr., 285.

Nwankwo is also one of the country’s top recruits as a defensive tackle, fielding nearly 20 offers to play Division I football. He’s staying in town, though, signing to play football at the University of Houston.

The senior says he won’t forget his roots, though. He comes from a wrestling family — his sister Nkechinyere is a former state champion at Foster and All-Greater Houston Girls Wrestler of the Year as well.

Whether on the mat or field, one thing is certain: Nwankwo’s future is bright.

Q: How did wrestling help you with football?

A: “It’s helped me drastically. It’s helped me with a lot of things. Wrestling, it has a lot to do with muscle memory. That plays a big role in football.”

Q: What is your family’s involvement with wrestling and sports in general?

A: “All of my siblings, we all have wrestled throughout high school. My oldest brother plays rugby. My sister is still wrestling. I have a brother, he wrestled in high school at Foster and got second at state in 2016 I believe. That’s who I learned from.”

Q: Would you consider yourself a better wrestler than football player?

A: “I believe I’m great at both. If I wanted to pursue my wrestling career, I would most definitely put all my time and effort like I do with football into wrestling and I feel like I would be better.”

Q: What excites you most about joining the University of Houston football program?

A: “Really just getting my education most importantly. Really just bonding with my teams, just making a great relationship with every single one of my teammates and balling out.”

Q: Was there ever a point you considered pursuing wrestling over football?

A: “I’ve thought about it at one point. I told myself if I was to get scholarships depending on where, I probably would’ve done it.”

Q: You might have wrestled your last match. What will you miss about the sport?

A: “I miss the practices really. I thought I’d never say that, but I miss the practices. They’re very intense. Everything was about urgency and a sense of urgency. It’s the same in football.”

Q: How have you been keeping busy during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: “I’ve been actually staying with my godbrother. He’s a trainer. I stay with him through the weekdays and on the weekends, I come home to spend time with the family and then on Sunday night I go right back to work.”

Q: How much do you prioritize staying fit during this break?

A: “It’s very important because aside from football and all of that other stuff, I want to be very healthy mentally and physically and spiritually most importantly.”

Q: Speaking of mentally, how have you fared being confined during the pandemic?

A: “Actually, I’m doing way better than I thought I would be. I started off kind of rough when I started working out and on this regimen. I started doing yoga and Pilates and all of that. I read every morning. I cut all the unnecessary things I do when I wake up and I just replace it with the positive things, things I could do to get ahead.”