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Male athlete of the year: Dan Curran, ConVal

  • ConVal's Dan Curran wins the 170-lb. division at the New Hampshire Meet of Champions in February. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal's Dan Curran wins the 170-lb. division at the New Hampshire Meet of Champions in February. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Dan Curran and Zach Obuchowski lead ConVal's football team onto the field at homecoming in fall of 2017. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Dan Curran leads ConVal's football team onto the field at homecoming in fall of 2017. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Dan Curran on the field for ConVal football. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Dan Curran on the field for ConVal football. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Dan Curran wins the Division II wrestling championship at 170 lbs. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Dan Curran wins the Division II wrestling championship at 170 lbs. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Dan Curran wins the Division II wrestling championship at 170 lbs. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Daniel Curran Staff photo by Ben Conant—Ben Conant Photography

  • Dan Curran at a Doughboy Wrestling Club practice in Lowell, Massachusetts in 2017. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, July 05, 2018 12:54PM

The mornings in the weight room. The countless hours of wrestling practice. The nights on the gridiron. The drives around the country to get to the next big competition. That was everyday life for ConVal’s Dan Curran, and it helped him achieve the biggest goals a student-athlete can reach. But ask Curran what’s shaped his life, and he’ll say his some of his most formative moments involved robots, back at South Meadow School in Mrs. Brezovic’s class.

“Sixth-grade Simple Machines was where it all turned on,” Curran said. “[Brezovic] always was working on honing our skills in so many different aspects,” Curran said. “She wanted us to be researchers, designers, builders, as well as our own advertising team. I grew a lot from that program ... That’s a huge impact to my life and I can’t thank her enough.”

If that’s where Curran’s pursuit of well-rounded perfection began, it stuck with him. He’s one of those All-American boys (note the Captain America t-shirt) who can move freely between the sports crowd, the drama club, and anything else you throw at him. And whatever he set his mind to, he was dedicated to improvement, to giving it all.

“He’s obviously a gifted athlete, but I think what’s made him special and successful is how hard he works,” said Paul Landau, Curran’s ConVal football coach. “I’ve been coaching for a decade and he’s easily the hardest working kid I’ve ever coached.”

Curran played defensive tackle, undersized, and never gave up. He didn’t miss a single snap due to injury in his high school career, and never got outworked, garnering multiple All-State selections.

As good as he was at football, it was wrestling, year-round, that Curran really threw himself into. With the help of parents John and Melissa, Curran would get himself to Lowell several times a week to train at the Doughboy Wrestling Club — this on top of his ConVal wrestling or football practice schedule. It was there he set himself apart from his competition, and this year, the accolades came piling in.

First, Curran broke the 100-win mark for ConVal, practically a foregone conclusion. Then, the bigger milestone, the school record of 118, held by Adam Smullen. Curran broke it at Hollis-Brookline in December, wrestling an opponent nearly 25 pounds heavier (Curran often found himself wrestling up a weight class or two as opposing coaches and wrestlers found excuses to dodge him).

Curran would finish his career at 167-32.

“I think [the record is] going to last for a while, I really do,” said ConVal wrestling coach Brian Whittemore, who’s seen all the Cougars’ greats throughout the years and is still taken with Curran’s work ethic.

“He does more than any other athlete would do,” Whittemore said “If I had half a dozen of him, I wouldn't have to do anything.”

From there, he’d repeat as Division II champion and then, at the Meet of Champions, he reached that last elusive goal, winning the state title outright at 170 lbs. and earning a spot in the New England Championships. At the MOC’s, he’d also garner Tournament Outstanding Wrestler honors and the NHIAA sportsmanship award.

Curran capped off his high school days at graduation in June, earning the faculty award as speakers regaled the audience with tales of his going the extra mile, from jogging to the weight room before dawn on school days to staying late and sweeping up the halls to save the janitors some work,

Having achieved all he could in Peterborough, Curran is about to become a small fish in a big pond, as he joins the Norwich University wrestling team in the fall and works towards a ROTC scholarship and eventually a military career.

“I want to be a mechanical engineer,” Curran said, perhaps in the robotics field. “One of the biggest sectors of it right now is manufacturing. Not just designing the final product but designing how to create the final product, and the parts that are needed to do it the most efficiently.”

Who better to take that on than Curran? He’s already created a machine capable of doing just about anything — himself.

“I wouldn’t bet against him in anything,” Landau said. “I think no matter what he does, no matter what he is going to apply himself to, he is going to do it the exact same, he’s going to work just as hard at his job as he did in football and in wrestling, and that’s something that is going to help him be successful no matter what.”