The Punke clan has staked a powerful claim as the first family of Illinois wrestling. Based solely on the fact that they’re their first family to ever qualify four brothers for the state meet, their claim might be irrefutable.
Washington High is the home of the Punkes — freshman Jace, sophomore Blaize, junior Dack and senior Ryder Punke — all of whom earned state tournament berths in 2016. According to the Illinois High School Association, the Punke brothers are the first ever quartet of siblings to qualify for the state wrestling meet in the same year.
Of the four brothers, only Dack Punke is the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class (113 pounds). In fact, Washington’s wrestling program is so deep that the Punke brothers’ qualification is a secondary story. Most of the coverage surrounding the team has focused on the Vikings’ four top-seeded wrestlers, one of which is the aforementioned Dack Punke.
The upside of that is that the other three Punke’s all enter Friday’s state tournament as under-the-radar contenders. That could make for an exciting and glorious state meet, a feather in an already decorated cap for the Punke family.