A 10.17 100-meter dash time wouldn’t have medaled at the 2021 Summer Olympics, but depending upon its preliminary heat, it would’ve been fast enough to qualify for the Olympic semifinals.
That’s world-class speed, and Che Nwabuko showed that he’s not just a one-trick pony too. With a 20.53 200-meter dash Friday, not only did Nwabuko take home the state title, but he would’ve once again competed for Olympic qualifying times.
And to cap the night, Nwabuko capped his record-setting performance with a 4×100-meter gold medal, as well, leading Manor High School just outside of Austin, Texas to three gold medals.
— Che Nwabuko 📍 (@CheNwabuko1) May 14, 2022
To be clear, that is three gold medals that Nwabuko walked away with Friday — three first place finishes.
“Today was just a very amazing day,” Nwabuko told Pittsburgh Sports Now after his performance. “I put it all together. We had two weeks to really work before states. We had to work, and when states time comes around, you have to focus on a lot of small things. We worked together as a team, and as you see we put it all together and especially me. I put it all together, I gave it my all and I had to go for all the gold.”
— Travis Recek (@TravisRecek) May 14, 2022
With a state title in the 100-meter, 200-meter and the 4×100-meter, Nwabuko led Manor to a historic performance. I mean, even in a state like Texas, he swept the short-distance events — cutting a junior season-best of 10.44 100-meter best by over two milliseconds.
“Just coming out on top in my senior year, it’s a great feeling,” Nwabuko said. “I knew I had a big impact on those guys around me, and they’re very excited about next year and what they can bring. And I’m very excited. I have a lot of opportunities in front of me, and I have a whole new season next year to turn up at Pitt.”
Nwabuko is not only headed to Pittsburgh as a track star, but he’s leaving the football-rich state of Texas for Pitt. With just offers from Texas State and UTSA, the top schools in the state didn’t truly notice an electric in-state talent, and Nwabuko is ready to make an impact away from home.
“You know, obviously, they didn’t open their eyes early enough,” Nwabuko said. “Pitt saw what I had, Pitt saw what I could bring to the table and the other schools in Texas just didn’t. They wanted bigger guys, bigger recruits and I was obviously a guy that could’ve been picked, could’ve been a very special threat on their team, but I’m taking my talents to Pittsburgh. And I’m going to turn it up there, H2P, baby.”
After completing a high school football career in which he racked up 1,281 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground (averaging just under eight and a half yards per attempt) and 1,533 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air (averaging just over 16 yards per reception), Nwabuko flashed his receiving potential as a senior.
With 739 yards and eight touchdowns on 45 receptions, all leading Manor wide receivers, Nwabuko was a threat to find the end zone every time he touched the ball. And he went out with a bang, racking up 199 yards and two touchdowns in his final game as a Mustang.
And with three gold medals, setting Manor high school records and establishing himself as an elite sprinter, Nwabuko completed his high schooler as a champion.
— Travis Recek (@TravisRecek) May 14, 2022
“I finished off in a really good way,” Nwabuko said. “I finished off on top, I finished off a champion, I finished off writing my legacy actually, representing who I am and making a name for myself. Just to leave Texas with that, leave Texas high school sports with all that, it’s a blessing.”
The amount of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into Nwabuko’s quest for perfection is incalculable, making the adjustments to tiny details almost immeasurable, but it’s made all the difference in the long run.
“It means a lot,” Nwabuko said. “I’ve put so much work into this. I’ve grinded, I’ve made sacrifices from not going out with friends, staying and going to the gym on days when people don’t want to go to the gym, just staying those extra hours after practice and getting that work in. I’ve put a lot into this, so just coming out with that time, it was just really expected.”
With Nwabuko’s high school career coming to an end, ending on the highest of notes, he’s aware of Jordan Addison leaving Pitt’s wide receiving corps with a hole. While he said it would be great to learn from a player like Addison, if Addison were to return to Pitt, his absence provides an additional opportunity.
“Even if (Addison is) not there, it just opens up space for me, gives me opportunities, and I’m still going to go out there, work hard, work my butt off and try to get me a spot on that starting roster,” Nwabuko said.
With Olympic level speed in a 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame, Nwabuko is confident that the ACC has never seen a weapon at his level. He’s confident that he’ll be able to operate at a new level in Pittsburgh.
With an invite to the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on the heels of his 10.17 100-meter dash time, Nwabuko isn’t yet sure if he’ll accept the opportunity. Regardless, he’s that much closer to arriving to Pitt as one of — if not the — fastest players in all of college football.