EUGENE, Ore. – University of Iowa men’s track and field senior Nik Curtiss ended his decorated career as a First Team All-American in shot put, the 4×400-meter relay qualified for Friday’s final sixth-fastest and sophomore Austin West completed the first day of decathlon competition on Wednesday at Hayward Field.
“I’m super proud of Nik and everything he has accomplished this season for Iowa Track and Field,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “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, the Iowa indoor and outdoor shot put school-record holder, earned the first First Team All-America honor of his Division-I career with an eighth-place finish (19.74m / 64’9.25”), improving his Second Team All-America finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Before this season, Curtiss was a seven-time All-American and three-time NCAA DII runner-up in 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.
“Ray recruited me out of high school and I got a really good vibe from him back then,” Curtiss said of Robinson. “It’s worked out ever since. I was heartbroken when he told me he got the Iowa job, but I was proud of him. I took some time and decided I was on board to come to Iowa, somewhere I never thought I would be, but in the end it has 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.”
The men’s 4×400-meter relay team of freshmen Everett Steward and Chadrick Richards, sophomore Spencer Gudgel and junior Julien Gillum capped off the first day of competition in Eugene running the second-fastest time in program history (3:01.79) to qualify for the final on Friday sixth-fastest overall.
“Those guys all competed their hearts out today and punched their ticket to the finals,” Woody said. “The 4×400 relay this season has been a combination of multiple guys that all have the expectation of no matter who is on there, we are competing to make the NCAA Finals and to medal.”
West occupies sixth place in the heptathlon (4189 pts.) and is 301 points back from leader and NCAA Indoor Heptathlon Champion Ayden Owens-Delerme of Arkansas. West, the Iowa City native, ran 46.90 in the 400 meters and finished third to cap off a strong day one.
“Austin had a great start to the Decathlon today,” Woody said. “This meet is all about head-to-head competition and Austin competed very well. He’s in good position and set himself up for a great day two.”
Junior James Carter, Jr. finished 10th in the long jump (7.60m / 24’11.25”) to match his finish from a season ago, earning Second Team All-America honors. Senior Josh Braverman earned the first All-America honor of his career with a Second-Team finish (13.72, 16th) in the 110-meter hurdles and junior Gratt Reed finished 22nd (14.02) to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors.
In the 400-meter hurdles, Big Ten Champion Julien Gillum finished 15th (50.84) and earned his third-career All-America honor (Second Team). The 4×100-meter relay team of freshman Kalil Johnson, sophomore Austin Kresley, junior Gratt Reed and sophomore Khullen Jefferson clocked 39.31 and posted the fifth-fastest time in program history, improving their seed five spots with a 18th-place finish to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors.
West will get the Hawkeyes started tomorrow morning with the 110-meter hurdles at 1:30 p.m. (CT), followed by women’s semifinal action slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. (CT) with the 4×100-meter relay.
6. Austin West – 4189 pts. (-301)
100m – 7. West (10.83) +899 pts. (-97)
Long Jump – 5. West (7.31m / 23’11.75”) +888 pts. (-95)
Shot Put – 7. West (14.10m / 46’3.25”) +734 pts. (-180)
High Jump – 17. West (1.89m / 6’2.25”) +705 pts. (-343)
400m – 3. West (46.90) +963 pts. (-301)
Men’s Long Jump
10. James Carter, Jr. – 7.60m / 24’11.25”, Second Team All-American
Men’s Shot Put
8. Nik Curtiss – 19.74m / 64’9.25”, First Team All-American
Men’s 4x100m Relay
18. Johnson/Kresley/Reed/K. Jefferson – 39.31, T-No. 5 all-time, Honorable Mention All-Americans
Men’s 4x400m Relay
6. Steward/Richards/Gudgel/Gillum – 3:01.79 q, No. 2 all-time
Men’s 110m Hurdles
16. Josh Braverman – 13.72, Second Team All-American
22. Gratt Reed – 14.02, Honorable Mention All-American
Men’s 400m Hurdles
15. Julien Gillum – 50.84, Second Team All-American