'We want him to be an All-American': Blooming Prarie's Krell blossoming at RCTC

Colton Krell was the first wrestler from Blooming Prairie High School to win a state title and was all set to wrestle at North Dakota State but has found his home at RCTC

Westfield's Colton Krell celebrates winning the 195-pound Class A championship match against Frazee's Luke Tweeton on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. (Andrew Link /
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Colton Krell's path to college wrestling — and to Rochester Community and Technical College — was not exactly how he envisioned it.

Just two years ago, Krell became the first wrestler from Blooming Prairie High School to win a state championship when he won a 7-3 decision against Frazee’s Luke Tweeton in the Class A 195-pound state title bout. It capped a prep career that saw Krell win 141 of 158 matches and become a four-time state place-winner for the Westfield Razorbacks (the co-op between Blooming Prairie and Hayfield).

He committed to wrestle at North Dakota State University — a program with a history of producing great grapplers.

But after one semester it was clear to Krell, Fargo wasn’t going to work out.

“There were a lot of different things, but I would place the blame mostly on myself,” Krell said. “I didn’t like doing my homework. … And you know, D-1 is tough. I went up there and I was extremely out of shape. Those guys did not mess around. They were all in shape and ready to rip. I learned a lot of lessons on my first day of practice.”


RCTC takes first at NWCA National Duals

Krell returned to the Rochester area after that first semester and enrolled at RCTC.

The Yellowjackets were one of the final programs Krell considered before settling on the Bison.

Growing up, Krell knew the RCTC program well. That didn't change when he looked at the roster last season, seeing plenty of familiar faces.

“I mean growing up through high school, I heard of all the names on the roster,” Krell said. “I knew a lot of the kids prior to RCTC and I think that’s really cool. That only helps with the team bonding and team atmosphere. ... It's just a fun group to be with.”

Colton Krell

Krell wasn’t ready to wrestle yet at RCTC during the spring semester last year, so he was able to focus on his academics. He seems to have found his footing in that department.

He is studying business and marketing as he hopes to one day take over Krell Electric — the business his father Charles (Chuck) Krell started in 2004 in Blooming Prairie.

“I want to get the marketing idea or concepts and I want to take it back home,” Krell said, "hopefully expand the business a little bit.”


With that side of being a student-athlete now figured out, Krell knew it was time to get his body right so he could get back to doing what he loves. But that’s obviously easier said than done — especially with how his time at NDSU shook out.

“You just really have to mentally sit down with yourself and just work at it,” Krell said. “Focus on it. You have to just adapt or die.”

But the RCTC wrestling room is much different compared to NDSU’s.

It’s a little less stressful, but still one with great talent as most are state qualifiers or champions in high school, who know what it takes to be good. They work hard and push each other but a freshman isn’t grappling with a senior like in Fargo.

“The guys are more my level,” Krell said. “Instead of being seniors in college — just I mean, absolute animals — they were freshmen just like me. So I was able to learn at my own speed opposed to getting beat into it.”

It has taken Krell some time to shake off a bit of rust but things seem to be starting to click for him. That was made evident at the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Dual Meet Championships on Jan. 7 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Krell went undefeated, going 4-0 with one win by forfeit, while helping the Yellowjackets capture their first NWCA National Dual title. He did this all while wrestling up a weight class.

“For him to go undefeated was pretty darn good because he hasn't done that at any tournament yet this year,” RCTC coach Andy Hackenmueller said. “And he's certified to be a 184-pounder, and he was wrestling up a weight class at 197 which makes it even more impressive that he was winning all those matches. He's really coming around and he’s putting things together.


“He’s definitely a guy down the stretch, with that experience, I’m counting on.”

Krell, too, can feel himself getting more and more comfortable after what was an uncharacteristic start for him.

“My first couple of college tournaments, I was 4-4 — not what I’m used to, I’ll tell you that much,” Krell said. “It's tough. It's really tough, but I’m getting into the swing of things and really buckling down and focusing. It's coming around. I'm figuring a lot of things out. I'm getting in better shape. Getting a lot stronger every day.”

For the Yellowjackets, who have their sights set on their third consecutive NJCAA non-scholarship national championship, Krell could be an important piece to the Yellowjackets moving forward for next season as well.

"We want him to be an All-American for us," Hackenmueller said. "That’s our focus right now."

Krell is just focused on regaining the form that turned him into a state champion.

"It takes a while," Krell said. "I'm not there yet. But I'm kind of getting there."

Related Topics: GYMNASTICS
Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at
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