With three state tournament wrestlers returning, Hopkins head coach Billy Barringer likes his teams prospects for improvement this winter.

The Royals were 6-9 in dual meets last season, when they usually forfeited in at least three weight classes.

“We hope to have a full lineup this season,” said Barringer. “If we can do that, at least we won’t be giving points away.”

Hopkins three state returnees will not surrender any points easily. Leading the way is sophomore 195-pounder R.J. Chakolis, who posted a 29-6 record last season. Also returning are Clifton Paterson (26-14) and Demetrius Patton (24-9).

“Those three are captains along with heavyweight Jack Glanzer,” Barringer noted. “They’re a great group of captains. Over the summer, they worked with kids at our youth wrestling camp.”

Barringer added that the captains have all made strides through hard work.

“The things that make R.J. Chakolis a good wrestler are the same things that make him a good football player,” the coach explained. “He understands sports so well and is also a great competitor with a lot of athletic ability. He is very coachable and picks up quickly on new techniques and tactics.”

Paterson was one of the Royals’ most durable wrestlers last season, getting in 40 matches. “He worked all summer to get better,” said Barringer. “Demetrius Patton turned the corner last year and earned his place as one of our captains. Jack Glanzer has put in incredible work in the weight room and is a better athlete because of that.”

While the captains will carry the team, Barringer likes the look of the supporting cast.

Aaron Bertsch shows potential after placing fourth in Section 6AAA at 220 pounds last season. Ryan Bachman returns at 132 pounds, while Brandon Yellowrobe and D’Allen Rutherford return in the upper-middle weights.

 In the lower weights, Barringer looks for freshman Jackson Williams to fill the 106-pound slot. Kai Schmidt is another hopeful.

Talking about the first event of the season, the Fridley Invitational, which gets underway at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Fridley High School, Barringer said, “Fridley is a great tournament to start out with. We fit in well with the other schools who’ll be there.

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