SMS’s Daniel Curran goes for third straight middle school championship
The true character of a young man shines through in the face of defeat. He has two options, giving up and cutting his losses, or choosing to use these defeats as motivation to better himself. Daniel Curran chose the latter, and because of it will wrestle for his third consecutive state title this weekend.
Daniel, 14, started to wrestle when he was in fourth grade after moving to Peterborough from Tennessee. “My brother, Joshua, was on the [South Meadow School] wrestling team. I started going to the practices and started to wrestle because there was nothing else to do during that time,” said Curran in a recent interview. That year, the team let Curran compete in the last meet of the season, in which he admits he got “utterly destroyed.”
During his first year attending South Meadow, Daniel joined the Monadnock Mountaineers football program. “I was a bench player,” Daniel said. “I kept on trying [to become a starter] and just got beat over, and over, and over again. I got sick of being beat.” Daniel credits his failure to become the starting nose tackle during his first football season with motivating him and beginning his journey to becoming one of the best wrestlers in the state. “I just wanted to win,” he recalled.
Daniel began putting forth a stronger effort in all aspects of his life, like weightlifting, wrestling, and academics. “I would do everything 100 percent,” he recalled.
It is that will to win that Daniel believes separates him from his competition. “I don’t think that every wrestler has that,” he said. “Some people think of it as a game, I look at it differently.”
Daniel’s father, John, believes that it is his sons work ethic that separates him from the pack. “He works at [wrestling] 8 months a year, works out in the offseason. With his brother Josh, he has always been a little smaller, but Daniel can get there if he works hard.”
Daniel is the youngest of three brothers and according to his father has “spent his whole life being on overdrive, trying to catch up.” Daniel describes his relationship with Josh as one of brotherly competition, and credits Josh with introducing him to the sport. “He is two years older,” Daniel said. “Just big enough where he can beat me, but not too old where I have no chance.”
During his fifth-grade season, Daniel won just one match. But, with coaching from his brother as well as offseason training, he quickly improved, finishing 22-0 during his sixth-grade campaign, winning his first state title.
The following year, wrestling at 142 pounds, Daniel finished 30-6, winning a second straight state title and setting up a chance for a three-peat during his 8th-grade season. Heading into this years state championship meet, Daniel is 47-7 while wrestling at 150 pounds.
Following this weekend’s state championship tournament (Saturday at Londonderry High School at 9 a.m.), Daniel will wrap up his middle school career, likely with a trip to the New Englands. “I know that I have the ability to [win New Englands],” Daniel said. “If I don’t come out on top I know I didn’t put in [the work] I needed to. I won’t be happy with my performance.”
With no plans to slow down, he has high expectations for himself heading into ConVal high school. “I want to get as much as I can out of coach [Whittemore],” Daniel said. “He’s a great coach.”
With goals to win a Division II state title during his sophomore year, a Meet of Champions title as a junior, and the New England championship as a senior, Daniel cannot wait to get his high school career started.
In the meantime, Daniel has joined the Doughboy Wrestling Club out of Lowell, Mass.
“Dan has no one to practice with,” John said. “You can only go so far wrestling by yourself.”
Daniel is not permitted to practice with the high school team that he will join next year due to state regulations.
Daniel will always have his brother Joshua to push him, and his family to support everything he does. And if he doesn’t win New Englands? “We will still give him a ride home,” John said.