After almost a quarter-century, wrestling announcer signs off

Phil Anderson

For a guy who never wrestled in high school, Phil Anderson has become synonymous for the prep version of the sport of singlets and mats here in the Quincy Valley.

For more than two decades, his gravelly baritone has been a part of wrestling nights in the winter, and now he’s walking away from it, as a nod to his health.

“Twenty years is plenty of time,” he said, adding that the new computer programs they use to keep track of matches is a little out of his comfort zone.

“I’m not all that computer literate, so it’s just time,” he says. He has been replaced behind the mic by Quincy Recreation Director Russ Harrington.

A wrestler during his Army days, Anderson played basketball in high school. He became a follower of the Quincy wrestling program after his son got involved. When the announcer for the team passed away, Anderson approached coach Manny Ybarra and asked him whether he needed a replacement. Pulling from his experience as a radio announcer in college, when Ybarra said yes, Anderson volunteered to get behind the mic.

“The rest is history,” he says.

Even after all these years, Ybarra has high praise for Anderson’s commitment to Quincy wrestling.

“He gladly volunteered to do it and he was great at it,” Ybarra said.

Over a quarter century, Anderson treasures having witnessed so many young women and men grow and improve and mature, season after season.

“I watched some really good people,” he said. “The coaches work with the young men and develop good young men.”

Pronouncing complicated names from all over the world was a challenge, but Anderson took a practical approach: Wing it and if it’s wrong, someone sooner or later will correct you.

“There was one time, we had a wrestler from Lake Roosevelt, and one of the wrestlers was an Indian fella, Native American, and his name was Timentwa. And I pronounced it some ridiculous way, and the mortician here in town was from up the Coulee City area and he came over and straightened me out,” he said.

Wrestling is a big family, and those involved in it in Quincy are diehards that support the program at home and on the road, Anderson said.

“That was impressive to me,” he said. “And it became even greater when the girls program became active.” He traveled with the team as often as he could.

“I’ve made some great friends,” he said.

What’s unusual about Andersen’s decades-long dedication to a Quincy sport is that he actually tossed his cap in the air as a member of a graduating class 15 miles to the east. To a class reunion, he wore a shirt that read Ephrata Tigers, but the shirt was green and gold. He still remembers how booed he got.

Even more unusual is that it was not until this week that Ybarra found out about Anderson’s orange-and-black past.

“All I know is that he was passionate about Quincy wrestling. He did great for Quincy,” Ybarra said.

“Ephrata??” Ybarra adds a little later, the incredulity setting in. “I gotta talk to that man,” he joked, before adding, “He was a great guy. Just an awesome guy, can’t say enough good things about him. He supported Quincy wrestling like no other.”