Star wrestler Chakolis scores state championship crown
March 5, 2020
All season long the Hopkins wrestling matts have been dominated by one wrestler, junior RJ Chakolis. So much so he can count on one hand the number of times he has been taken down this year. This isn’t an unfamiliar site for Chakolis or the Hopkins wrestling team.
Chakolis has been dominating the wrestling scene since he began wrestling as fours years old going on to make the varsity team for Hopkins as a seventh grader.
Making Hopkins history is also something Chakolis has excelled at during his time at HHS. Chakolis is not only the first Hopkins wrestler to make state four times, he also is tied for the most wins in Hopkins history with 157.
Above all those achievements is one that can never be broken by someone else or taken from Chakolis. He is the first wrestler from Hopkins to win state since 1975, forever writing his name in Hopkins and Minnesota wrestling history books.
Chakolis hasn’t been alone on this journey though.
“My dad and my Grandpa have kept me focused and pushing me to be my best self all season long, I wouldn’t want anyone else in my corner,” Chakolis said.
But there is another person that has helped Chakolis day in and day out is Hopkins wrestling coach Ben Tinkham.
“My relationship with my coach is more than just coach to player, he is one of my closest friends,” Chakolis said. “I know that I can go to him with anything. He is one of my biggest role models.”
The path to the wrestling state championship was anything but a cakewalk. Heading into the tournament Chakolis held a 34-4 record, enough to earn the fourth seed in the 195 pound division.
On his way to the championship match Chakolis took down the fifth and first overall seeds, while being left to face the third overall seed in the championship.
This Championship match was a tight defensive contest throughout its entirety. Chakolis scored the first point coming in round two, while his opponent tied it up with a point in round three sending the match into an overtime.
With the pressure mounting Chakolis didn’t shy away from the spotlight he shined in it.
Heading into overtime of the state championship match Chakolis was anything but nervous.
“I knew I could beat this guy, I just needed to be more confident in my offense and trust my defense,” Chakolis said.
Chakolis did just that scoring a point with a surprise takedown early in overtime which put an end to the match at 2-1 crowning him state champion etching his name forever in the record books.