Cody Kroul has been one of the most requested Remember The Wrestler articles and what makes him different from others who are requested often is that several of the people who requested Kroul are guys who wrestled against him in high school. So I don’t know what it is about the guy, whether he wasn’t chatty with guys he wrestled in high school or if he was mysterious or what the deal was…. but one thing that’s certain that people who wrestled him want to know what his thoughts are. He had to have been a guy who was universally respected by the competition… otherwise, noone would care. I am glad they did request him, for I don’t think Cody was aware of the site’s existence before I talked to him and after I told him to check it out, he has told me that he has really enjoyed his time with it. I just posted his Senior season finals match last week. Kid was an ox. And he seems like a cool guy to me. He accomplished more later in his career, but the first thing I think of is how he won a tough district to qualify for state as a Freshman at 160 lbs. We had a guy who was a Senior, athletic and a helluva wrestler at 160 who was undefeated and ranked #2 coming into the tournament… and rightfully so. This guy beat tons of state placers that year. First round, this guy was defeated by another Freshman from Mt. Vernon by the name of Matt Kroul…Cody’s cousin. Our #2 Senior did not receive a wrestleback because Matt Kroul was defeated by Cody in the finals. It was something that stuck out, that’s for sure. I felt terrible for our guy, for he was probably the best wrestler I ever knew to not qualify for state. But that was such a rare thing to see. 2 Freshmen in the finals, both with the last name, “Kroul” and they were first cousins. Apparently in the Kroul family, you don’t dodge each other…you decide what your territory is and you earn it…The winner gets the last piece of chicken if it ever comes down to that.
Cody covered a ton of territory in his decorated wrestling career. Matt and Cody both won state as Seniors and it was likely the situations like their Freshman year at districts where they took on the adversity with open arms that helped them get to where they needed to be mentally to win state. Their insane athleticism and high skill level played a huge role from a physical standpoint. It was really a site to see how strong that particular crop of guys were in his age group and weight range. I mean, when they’d meet up, you’d get the same feeling that you do when you watch Game of Thrones and The Mountain and The Hound get into it.
Some of the wrestlers I’ve gotten to know who ride bulls or have done rodeo are some of my favorite wrestlers AND people… Jesse Sundell and Jason Keenan from Ogden, Aaron and Adam Drain from Mepo, Cody Kroul, etc…Takes a tough-minded person to do something like that and apparently, in the world of rodeo, being tough isn’t the only thing that is valued. Another common factor with every wrestler-bull-rider hybrid that I have met is polite, respectful and just full of integrity. It makes me want to pay attention to bull-riding a little closer. And I am not going to spoil anything, but I really love the way Cody answered a lot of these questions. He seems like just such a level-headed, hard-working, down to earth, tough, yet nice guy. He represents the Kroul family well!!!
So here ya go, guys… It’s Cody Kroul… I hope he mentions all of you!!! If he does, one thing I will give away is that he has nothing, but respect for you!!!
What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
Solon Spartan Little Man Wrestling Club. That’s who I wrestled for in AAU. I wrestled for Team Iowa one year as well. I wrestled for Solon in HS.
What year did you graduate?
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
Coach Hadenfelt encouraged me. His sons were standout wrestlers themselves; Adam, Aaron and Auggie.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
None of my immediate family wrestled before me, but I have some cousins and nephews who are trying it out now and they were inspired by me. I think that’s awesome and I am proud of that.
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
Matt Fields is one that comes to mind. It’s funny to think that I weighed the same as him as a JH kid. We split 1-1 AAU titles. Murphy from Lisbon is another that I wrestled a lot in youth, but never in HS. My cousin, Matt Kroul, from Mt. Vernon and I had a little brother-big brother thing going on, but I always got the best of him. Not sure what would happen now, for he’s a big boy.
What was your record in HS?
155 wins and 20 losses via google.
How did you place at state every year?
I was a 4X qualifier. I placed 6th as a Junior and I won it as a Senior.
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
Coach Williams leaving my Junior year was tough. I had some let-downs at state and really wanted to prove some things for myself and he was one that I wanted to get wins for as well. Coach Kaeding came in and I did great with him and felt a lot of pressure was off to succeed after my Senior year when I won it. I wanted to make my coach’s time worth it and wanted to make them proud.
How would you describe your wrestling style?
Bullheaded and in your face. Maybe a little too much at times. Maybe if I would have been more technical, it would have helped my conditioning.
How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
Jovani Galvan comes to mind instantly. We wrestled probably 15 times in high school and I won most all of them, but I believe he did get me once. Neuzil from Highland was always tough. Him and Zac Gayewski from West Burlington gave me a couple valuable losses during the season that really got me headed in the right direction for the rest of the year.
Who was your most influential coach?
Coach Hadenfelt. He started coaching me from the time I was probably a pre-school kid and stayed with us and coached us through HS. He was great. Coach Reiland coached me to my first AAU title. In HS, I had Coach Williams and Coach Long. I was blessed with some great coaches.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
My Freshman season, we qualified 7 guys and qualified for state duals where we were competitive, but maybe just a tad not as good as some of the kids there. I was on some great teams, though.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
This is a tough question. You can’t argue against the 4 timers. Jesse Sundell was one of the greatest. Jay Borschel is another. Ryan Morningstar only won 3, but is up there for sure,
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
Spencer Lee and Alex “The Bull” Marinelli.
What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
Classic rock or old country.
How are you related to Matt? Was it weird having to wrestle him?
Matt’s Dad, John and my dad, Tom are twins. We lived two miles apart on a gravel road, but we where on the Johnson county Linn County Line so you literally could ride a bike or in my case a horse sometimes to the family farm (the one off hwy 1 that sells pumpkins and sweet corn) now. Not weird at all for me as a kid wrestling, but I always won against Matt he would prob think differently having to wrestle but I maturing wise I was ahead of him until half way through HS, and I guess probably naturally a little meaner than when he was growing up
Are the Krouls naturally athletic?
Yes, we have been lucky to have naturally talented genes even the girls of the family have been great athletes.
How much do you remember about districts your Freshman year? Looking back, do you think it’s pretty crazy how your bracket unraveled?
As tough as our districts always where it still is pretty cool when I go home to see that my dad had a few of my brackets hung on a wall still and I had four district and sectional brackets at the time didn’t seem like much of an accomplishment, but looking back now it’s pretty cool. The thing I guess I remember most about freshman year was getting beat in first round on the edge of the mat at state with only couple seconds left then him going on to get third and me beating him a couple weeks later at state duals in Cedar Rapids the rest of my freshman year kinda a blurr remember hard battles with Thompson from Mount Vernon.
With guys like you, TJ Bevans and Hadenfelt, I’m guessing you guys had some battles in practice… what was that like?
As far as battles go in practice I kinda took they can be your best friend after practice but during practice make it a battle, the older teammates knew that even though I was the underclassmen I damn sure wasn’t going to back down, there was definitely probably a few bloody noses and black eyes that would have got called during a match, but all of them are great friends till this day
Do you still follow Solon wrestling? Who have been some of your favorite kids since you graduated?
Still follow Solon very closely. I was on and off back home in Solon a few years ago and got to go in and help coach with Aaron and TJ and coach Williams is back! Helped with Lance Evans and got to help with the West twin brothers a little in their last year.
When you were a Senior, 189 IMO, was tougher than usual. Heck, in your region you had guys that you would meet up with regularly… It is pretty impressive with guys like you, Galvin, Gordon Johnson, The Neuzil brothers and Zac Gayewski constantly colliding. Describe some of the battles. How would you describe some of your styles and how do you guys compare and contrast to each other?
Nuezil and Zac Gayewski seemed like meat heads like myself. Very rarely did we ever run into guys as strong as either one of us three throughout the season so it was crazy that us three were that close to the same area. Our little crop of area guys in that time and weight range were pounders. but each knew how to wrestle on top of it. Galvan was dangerous could throw low center of gravity hard to finish on and luckily I had just wrestled him so much that I knew his strong points and how to always work around them, not press something that wasn’t there. Yeah, it was a bunch of big, talented, athletic, strong guys at our weight and area at that time and I was proud to be a part of all of it.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
All of my state losses were just brutal. I would go in ranked high and would get upset.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
I would focus more and I would listen to my coaches more. If you shoot, you give yourself a better chance of scoring! Who would have thought? Lol.
What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
Winning state as a Senior was big. It was pretty emotional.
Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
A lot of guys brought so many different valuable things to the table. My most notable was Galvan, since he was great and we wrestled so much.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
It was seasonal for me, but I wish it would have been all-year.
How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
Wrestling is wrestling. The sport changes and the wrestlers adapt. Any wrestler from any era would do fine in today’s era and any guy from today would be right in the mix with the guys in past eras.
Did you wrestle after high school?
Not competitively, but I have coached at the HS level and have scrapped with all of them.
What other sports did you play?
You name it, I did it. Rodeo, football, track, baseball, a little soccer, you name it. I pursued rodeo via scholarship and competed professionally for 7 years.
What are your favorite sports teams?
What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
Hunting, Rodeo and Ranching.
How good does it make you feel to give back to the sport?
After coaching, I gained a whole knew love and appreciation for the sport. I followed it more closely, drove back for a couple big duals and started following it more.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
That phrase “give in or give it all you got” is something I go by and I got that from wrestling for I think that’s what wrestling is all about.
What do you do now?
I live in Salmon, Idaho and I work for one of my friends who owns a truck dealership. I still do stuff on the side like ranching and being a hunts guide.
Are you still involved with wrestling?
I help out with the HS and little kids. Eventually-maybe I might take over the HS program someday.
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
If you wanna be good, make wrestling your passion. A coach once told me that wrestling is 85% mental and I believe that and you can start things by learning the sport fully and in time, you’ll have it licked.
Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
I would love to! Just give me about 6 months to train for it.
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
Coach Long was interesting because he always had a full arsenal of moves. Morningstar and Light helped out. I think we had a lot of good wrestling in Eastern Iowa in my day because the coaches all got along and worked together.