Knowing her family history, it’s no surprise Hopkins sophomore forward Dlayla “Laylay” Chakolis plays much stronger inside than her 5-7 height would imply.
Her grandfather Dick was a longtime football and wrestling coach at Minneapolis North and her father, Happy, was a state tournament wrestler for the Polars in the mid-1990s. Younger brother R.J., an eighth-grader, competed for Hopkins at the recently completed wrestling state tournament as a 182-pounder.
“My dad started us at a very young age, trying to establish that we could do better than him in his high school career, and my grandpa has had a really big part in me and my brothers’ careers,” she said.
Chakolis, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds in the Royals’ victory over Minnetonka, said her family’s athletic history prepares her for rough sledding in the lane.
“My brother and I, we’re very competitive,” she said. “We want to beat each other in everything we do.”
Alexandria senior guard Macy Hatlestad has grown accustomed to her new role, offering moral support from the bench. She still would much rather be on the court playing.
“I’m doing whatever I can to support my teammates,” said Hatlestad, sidelined because of a season-ending knee injury. “I’m acting as a fifth coach. It might be a sneak peek to my future.”
The Cardinals’ second-leading scorer (12.4 points per game) suffered a partially torn ACL in her left knee during a game at Willmar in mid-January. She returned a month later against Brainerd after working hard in rehabilitation, only to reinjure the knee. Then she underwent surgery.
“We thought it was strong enough to play on,” Hatlestad said. “A lot people play with a torn ACL.”
Hatlestad is well-acquainted with ACL injuries, having torn her right ACL after her sophomore year.
“I had finally gotten away from wearing a brace this year,” Hatlestad said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the state tournament.”