IOWA CITY — Former Lancaster standout, Nik Curtiss, has had his share of success from the time he won a Division I high school state championship in the shot put in 2016, and as it turned out, it was just the beginning of an illustrious collegiate career.
Curtiss, who committed to Eastern Michigan out of high school, transferred to Tiffin University, a Division II school, after a coaching change. He had a fantastic career for the Dragons, winning All-American honors, and after he was granted a sixth season because of a redshirt year and COVID-19, Curtiss transferred to the University of Iowa last year.
Success continued for Curtiss and he proved he could get it done at the Division I level. He ended his decorated college career last week by earning first team All-American honors in the shot put after he finished eighth at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
“To be honest, it has taken a while for that to settle in,” Curtiss said. “Just looking back at my collegiate career and to end it on a high note like that is really surreal. Where I came from, just coming from a small Division II school and having the opportunity to have a sixth year and then transfer to Iowa and become a first team All-American, I couldn’t ask for a better way to end it. There have been some tough times along the way, but it has been worth it.”
Iowa’s Director of Track and Field Joey Woody, said, “I’m super proud of Nik and everything he has accomplished this season for Iowa track and field. He has made his mark in Iowa throws history as a Big Ten medalist, school-record holder indoor and out, and now a First Team All-American. This was a great way to cap off his collegiate career.”
Curtiss, who is the Iowa indoor and outdoor shot put school-record holder, earned the first, First Team All-America honor of his Division-I career with a throw of 64 feet, 9.25 inches, improving his Second Team All-America finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
Before transferring to Iowa, Curtiss was a seven-time All-American and three-time NCAA Division II runner-up in the shot put at Tiffin University. He chose to follow first-year assistant throws coach Ray Robinson, when he took the job at Iowa in July 2021. Robinson was Curtiss’ throws coach at Tiffin.
“Ray recruited me out of high school, and I got a really good vibe from him back then,” Curtiss. “It’s worked out ever since. I was heartbroken when he told me he got the Iowa job, I took some time and decided I was on board to come to Iowa, somewhere I never thought I would be. Everything worked out. I’ve trusted him for the past six years and I’m very fortunate to have been able to come to this next level and work with him to find success for both of us.”
Another highlight of Curtiss’ college career came last summer when he qualified and competed in the United States Olympic Trials with the hopes of earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Curtiss will now turn his thoughts toward competing in the U.S. Championships, with the hopes of qualifying for the World Championships.
“I just wanted a chance to compete in another meet and have fun with it,” Curtiss said. “It would be awesome to qualify for the World Championships, but it will be tough because only the top three finishers qualify, plus there will be pros at this meet.”
After the U.S. Championships, Curtiss plans to return to Iowa and be a volunteer assistant coach for the Hawkeyes. He already has a few NIL deals and is in partnership with a company in Pennsylvania.
Even though he is far from home, Curtiss said his love for Lancaster and his high school throws coach Jack Cheek, is never far from his thoughts.
“There have been so many people that have helped me throughout my journey, and I can’t thank them enough,” Curtiss said. “I still talk with coach Cheek, and I will always be there for him if needs help with any of his athletes. I just love the sport and how it has changed my life, and how it has pushed me to be better. In the future, I want to share that love with other people in the sport.”
Curtiss’ accomplishments through the years
University of Iowa
2022: Indoor – second team All-American in shot put, placing 14th with a throw of 61-5 1/2 at NCAA Championships; placed second in shot put with a school record-setting 64-2 1/2 at Tyson Invitational; placed third in shot put at B1G 10 Championships (63-9 ½) and won event at Meyo Invite (63-3 ½). Outdoor – first team All-American in shot put, placing eighth at NCAA Championships (64-9 ¼); placed second in shot put with a collegiate-best and school record-setting 65-9 at Musco Twilight; placed fifth in hammer throw with a collegiate-best 192-4 at Baldy Castillo Invite, which ranks 10th all-time at Iowa; placed 10th in shot put at NCAA West Preliminary (64-1 ¼); third at Drake Relays (63-1 ½); fourth at B1G Championships (62-6, 19.05m); won event at Baldy Castillo Invite (61-9 ¾) and Jim Click Shootout (61-5,).
2021: Indoor – All-American, placing second in shot put at NCAA Division II Championships (62-1 ¼); placed second in shot put at G-MAC Championships (59-11 ¼). Outdoor – All-American, placing second in shot put at NCAA Division II Championships (62-9 ½); won shot put at Yellow Jacket Invite with a collegiate-best 64-10 3/4; placed second at Great Midwest Championships (61-11).
2020: Indoor – placed second in shot put at G-MAC Championships (61-5); placed 17th in shot put at USA Track & Field Championships (60-9 ¼).
2019: Indoor – All-American, placing fourth in shot put at NCAA Division II Championships (60-8 ½); placed second in shot put (62-1 ¼); sixth in weight throw (59-4) at G-MAC Championships. Outdoor – All-American, placing fourth in shot put at NCAA Division II Championships (61-1 ¼); placed second in shot put (60-9 ½); sixth in hammer throw (178-3) at G-MAC Championships.
2018: Indoor – placed fifth in shot put at GLIAC Championships (56-3 ¼); 10th at NCAA Division II Championships (57-9). Outdoor – All-American, placing second in shot put at NCAA Division II Championships in (61-6 ¼); won shot put at GLIAC Championships (60-7 ¼).
Tom Wilson is a sports reporter for the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. Contact him at 740-689-5150 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments or story tips. Follow him on Twitter @twil2323.