by Malik Vincent
For New Pittsburgh Courier

There are several things that make Brashear senior Nyama Godwin not your typical City League wrestler.

When it’s all said and done, some could call him the best ever.

TOP WRESTLER—Godwin Nyama of Brashear leaves the mat after winning a match against Wesley McCaskill of Perry on Jan 11. Nyama, a 120 LB senior, is the first City League wrestler to sign with Pitt. (Courier Photos/William McBride/File)

His signing of a National Letter of Intent with the University of Pittsburgh may have added to that notion. He was the first-ever wrestler in the City League to do so.

Some may think that it’s his participation in community service projects with the Changes program at Brashear and his 3.5 grade point average, which, certainly helps.

But could it be his No. 14 national ranking among all high school wrestlers and his No. 2 standing, locally?

His coach, Nathan Geller, thinks it’s core values, the way he was brought up, and his “never say die” approach to being on top.

“His work ethic is second-to-none,” Geller said. “What separates him from others is the fact that he’s such a fine young man. He goes above and beyond to make himself into a better person and it pours into what he does on the mat.”

He finished his junior season at the winner’s podium with a seventh-place finish. But Geller said that wasn’t enough for Nyama.

“The whole ride home from States he had a down look on his face,” Geller said. “You can tell he wanted more.”

This year, he needs to win a regional tournament in Altoona to qualify for the State tournament in Hershey and there’s no doubt that he wants to win it all.

“I’m pleased with the way that I’ve progressed,” Godwin said. “But honestly, I want to go out on top. That’s what I work so hard for. I want to be the State champion.”

Pitt has immediate plans to mix him in next season with fellow local product, Anthony Zanetta, who’s currently a junior with the Panthers from Keystone Oaks in the 125 lb. weight class.

“We don’t only think that Godwin has the potentially to be a great addition to our program,” Pitt assistant coach Matt Kocher said. “We think that he’ll come in here and eventually compete for a National championship. He’s a great talent and we’re glad that he stayed local for his college career at Pitt.”

Living just up the road in Mt. Washington, Godwin has participated in Pitt’s wrestling camp to develop his craft, throughout his high school career.

“Me going there and being around them definitely influenced my final decision,” Godwin said.

He also received offers from Penn State and Stanford, before making it official with the Panthers as an early signer, in November.

Godwin’s favorite pastime is going to the movies with friends.

He’s sited Denzel Washington as his favorite actor and referenced “John Q” (a 2002 film) as his favorite film in which the famous entertainer has starred.

The plot is of the movie is about Washington, who plays John Quincy Archibald, is a down on luck father that doesn’t have the insurance to cover his son’s illness that forces him to need a heart transplant.

Washington eventually sacrificed his heart and life to save his son’s.

When Godwin enrolls at Pitt in the fall, he plans to study pre-medicine. He said that the film changed his perception of “what doctors are really about.”

“It made made me realize that some doctors and hospitals are only in it for the money,” he said. “I don’t want to pursue a career in that profession for those reasons. I’m interested in actually helping people.”

His supporters are hopeful that his desire to make a difference will also make one for his future.

“He’s wise beyond his years,” Geller said. “I’m sure that the decisions that he’s making right now will pay off. I’m excited about the things that this young man will accomplish, moving forward.”

(Malik Vincent can be reached at or on Twitter @malikvincent.)

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