By Colton Hall
Krockett Krolikowski is living the dream in Brookings.
The redshirt-sophomore from Winner was a part of a South Dakota State University football team that went undefeated at home (7-0) on its way to finishing 10-3.
Krolikowski proved the be a big reason for the Jackrabbits success while “stirring the pot”, registering four sacks which was good enough for second on the team. Everything was going his way.
That’s when tragedy happened.
Krolikowski suffered a torn ACL which would put him out of the last two games, but that wasn’t enough to keep him down for long.
According to Krolikowski, he’s scheduled to be back in time for fall camp, and he’s looking to pick up where he left off.
“Rehab’s going good,” Krolikowski said in a phone interview. “I’ll be back in time for fall camp, and I’m going to be excited to be back with the boys. I just want to get back, be to do what I love.”
Krolikowski, a construction management major, burst onto the college football scene after recording a career high seven tackles, while mustering one and half sacks against Easton Stick and North Dakota State Bison in week three.
Before Krolikowski’s injury, he even blocked kicks in back-to-back games against The University of South Dakota and Duquesne. Krolikowski was heating up.
“It felt good to get in a groove,” Krolikowski said. “It takes a little bit of time to get stuff clicking. I just want to keep playing better, and continue to improve. You work so hard to get to a certain point, and it’s amazing when everything pays off. Now it’s all about building off of last year.”
While a horrific injury like an ACL tear might be enough for some athletes to call it quits, Krolikowski seems to be shaped by the injury. He’s not letting it slow him down, and it all starts with a different mindset.
“There’s going to be adversity in everything,” Krolikowski said. “You can run with it, or you can crumble. One day, you’ll tear your ACL, that can be career ending. It’s different things everyday. You have to push yourself everyday. You have to have the mindset to get through. I’m going to take it one step at a time, and have playing the sport I love.”
His love and work ethic for football is a major reason for his success, but Krolikowski doesn’t forget the people that helped him out along the way. In fact, those people are another reason he plays as hard as he does.
“My favorite part is the guys that I’m around,” Krolikowski said. “I’m not playing for me anymore, its for the guys. I play for the guys right beside me and my family who have continued to push me to get here. I continue to want more, and my desire to continue to get better is what’s going to help me get better. With my faith, and the way that coach Stiegelmeier runs the program , and I like how our team is based around faith.”
In college football, the little things can make the difference between a good or great player. Krolikowski wants to put more of an emphasis on the little things. He just wants to keep getting better.
“It’s the little tendencies,” Krolikowski said. “Learning more mentally from the game can only help you get better. The smarter you get, the better you get with your hands, and I”m learning how to watch film better. I’m paying attention to all the details that can help me be successful. I’m looking at things from a different perspective, and I’m able to pick on the little things better. Our team is more competitive. We’ve been getting better and better, and we’re close. It’s time for the glass to break.”
Make no mistake. Krolikowski wants to get better, but his team is on the verge of being one of the better teams in the country. At some point, all the hard work and dedication will pay off. Something will give.
“We want to win the national championship,” Krolikowski said. “We’ve got to close it out. We’re changing up and things are looking different. We’re more competitive. We’re getting better. It’s time for the glass to break.”