The Wartburg Wrestling team has a storied history and the Fank family has been directly involved in that success over the past five years.
Kyle Fank is a familar face on Wartburg’s campus, with a recognizable name around the wrestling team. Fank’s older brother Ryan was an All-American and is a member of the 100 Win Club. He also had a big impact on his brother coming to his alma mater.
“Me and my brother are super close. So, I mean I was in touch with him, he was in touch with me. I took one visit and that was all it needed,” Fank said.
The younger Fank has picked up right where his brother left off with an All-American finish last year and recently set a new school record for tech falls in a career. That being said, his coaches said his strengths go beyond just his abilities on the mat.
“He’s gonna be there, he’s gonna be on time, he’s gonna show up, he’s gonna work hard. He’s gonna take care of business in the classroom, he’s a good kid. He’s one of those kids you don’t have to worry about,” assistant coach Chris Ortner said. “You know what you’re going to get as far as his work ethic and dedication. You know, those kids are fun to coach.”
Fank is currently ranked number two in the country, has a 13 match winning streak and finished fifth at Nationals last season, but he said he couldn’t have had this success without the coaching staff led by Eric Keller, a man he admires.
“He’s kind of like a father figure, both him and Ortner. They look after us, they push us when they know we can work harder, and that’s a big thing. Stay on us, riding us you know, ‘do better, score another takedown,’ those are gonna be the things that separate us,” Fank said.
As an education major, Fank plans to go into teaching after graduating in May and also wants to stay around wrestling, but not necessarily the way most people would expect.
“You can’t take this sport away from me. Kind of want to get into officiating once I’m done here. My dad is a high school wrestling official, he’s worked numerous state tournament, state finals,” Fank said. “Kind of start falling under him. State is looking for good officials, it’s a way for me to give back to the sport.”
After a win over no. 7 Coe on Jan. 26, the Knights have their eyes set on a Battle of the Burgs rematch against no. 1 Augsburg on Feb. 1.