POLSON — To say that 6’6” Tyler Krell is simply a great athlete is selling him short.
While Krell has been a tremendous post player for the Polson Pirates basketball team, he’s got plenty more on his resume. He is the Polson Student Body President two years running, a member of the National Honor Society and serves as the student representative on the Polson School Board.
Transferring from Charlo after the first quarter of his sophomore year, Krell has proven himself to be an exceptional member of Polson High School. He hasn’t forgotten where he came from either and he can be seen sometimes on free nights at Vikings and Lady Vikings basketball games.
“In my freshman year at Charlo we started three freshmen on our team,” Krell said. “It was me and two of my best friends, Dillon Delaney and Kolten Andrews. Along with Stephen Delaney, they’ve been my friends forever and I keep in touch with them. That will probably be one of my best high school memories being a freshman on the varsity floor.”
The Polson senior also has plenty of thanks for the Delaney family for treating him like “one of the boys” throughout the years.
Krell might know more about the game of basketball than your normal high school student since his dad, James, is also a referee. Along with school, Krell can be seen moonlighting as a referee on the weekends.
“It’s just something I do when asked and it’s something I think in the future that I will do,” Krell said. “Having my father as a ref is a different position. Sometimes after games we’ll talk more about the refereeing than the actual game. It definitely gives me insight, I’ll get called for something in the game and go ‘yep, my dad and I talked about this before.’”
He is a three-time all-conference player for the Pirates and was a dominant force in the post this year for Polson before a knee injury put an end to his season.
“I felt like this year, there was a little bit more of a load on me to perform,” Krell said. “But I expected it. In your senior season, you always expect it to be the best season you have and I would say it was my best.”
Krell was among the top-five in Northwestern A scorers and could be seen dominating stretches of games for the Pirates. He’ll have to undergo knee surgery on March 29 after an injury he sustained during a Feb. 4 basketball game against Columbia Falls. Krell had just made a great defensive play and came to a sudden stop to make a pass to a teammate.
He immediately went down and pounded the court with his fist in obvious distress. An MRI showed Krell had suffered no tears in his ligaments but it caused cartilage damage in the same knee that he hurt his freshman year.
However, Feb. 4 wasn’t the last time he took the court in a Pirate uniform. On Feb. 18 against Whitefish in the final game of the regular season, after an agreement between both teams and the referees, Tyler lined up for a ceremonial tip-off to the applause of Pirate fans in the Linderman Gym.
But as said before, he is not a one-trick pony. Krell is an extremely busy guy. One of the things he has to focus on is attending all those Polson Board of Education meetings as the high school’s student representative.
“The experience is good,” Krell said. “I’m a high school student that gets experience at that high level of decision. It’s one of those things that I find interesting and that means the three hours isn’t so bad.”
Krell likes to get involved in community service, and he sees being the student rep as a chance to make a difference.
“You see the buckets in this school from its leaky roof and you go to the school board meeting to hopefully resolve that stuff,” Krell said.
Krell got the position by volunteering after being elected as Polson High School student body president for the second year in a row. Being part of the student government definitely has its fun parts, like running pep assemblies and developing close working relationships with the high school staff. But it also comes with responsibility, Krell feels, since the kids elected have to lead by example.
“A lot of what we do is based on service and that’s what I like a lot: the giving back,” Krell said. “To me, juggling these things isn’t hard at all. Board meetings aren’t hard if you’re interested in it. Practices aren’t a dread because it’s enjoyable to go play a sport that you love.”
Krell will be in a different position altogether this summer when he’ll travel overseas as part of the Irish Life Experience program. Along with visiting Washington, D.C., he will get a 25-day experience of life and culture in Ireland through a wide variety of classes, workshops and tours based throughout the country.
“It’s going to be interesting to experience the different culture and not just in Ireland,” Krell said. “I’ll be going with 20 other kids across the country and some kids in the east probably think we still ride horse and buggies out here in Montana.”
Krell has been fundraising for the trip, and anyone wishing to donate can visit http://irishlifeexperience.com/3446/tyler-krell-2/
It hasn’t always been easy for Krell though. He admits that during his early years in school, he wasn’t always the most interested student.
“I used to be the student that didn’t want to be in school,” Krell said.
However since then, Krell has developed a strong work ethic and become an exceptional student. After high school, Krell plans to attend Montana State University to study pre-med before eventually becoming a dentist. It’s a path of success that he’s laid the foundation down for as a student at Polson High School.
“My senior year hasn’t been too bad, it hasn’t been really overwhelming,” Krell said. “There are definitely times where I can enjoy myself. I can’t say that because of my knee surgery it’s going to change my whole year.”
Krell has kept his spirits up about his knee injury, joking that the reason he’s going to MSU is to be closer to ski resorts to work on his knee condition. And with his well-rounded approach, there should be plenty more memories for Krell after he graduates high school. Whether it’s in sports, school or just everyday life, Krell isn’t going to be the guy that stops short on anything.
Brandon Hansen is the Sports editor for the Lake County Leader. You can reach him at email@example.com and 883-4343.