Athlete of the week: Phillip Anderson, Rogers, wrestling: Any which way

by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor

Phillip Anderson knows how to beat his wrestling opponents; he just doesn’t know how to explain how he does it. Nor does his coach.

“We call it ‘Phil’s funk wrestling.’ He’s a very unorthodox wrestler,” said Chris Donnay, chuckling, about the Rogers senior who’ll soon hold all the team records. “He does stuff you can’t teach. You think you’ve got him in a good position, and next thing you know, you’re on your back. He uses any and every hold (for pins).”

Phillip Anderson currently has 108 wins and 58 pins and should soon by Rogers' all-time leader in both. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Phillip Anderson currently has 108 wins and 58 pins and should soon by Rogers’ all-time leader in both. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Anderson, currently 108-31 with 58 pins and two state trips in his career, seconds that assessment of himself.

“I just go with the flow. I have no game plan. No favorite holds,” Anderson said with a shrug. He gets his pins, he said, with “arm bars, rolls, scrambling, anything.”

Ranked No. 7 at 138 pounds in Class AAA this year, Anderson is closing in on the Rogers records of 117 wins by Kyler Swanson and 59 pins by Todd Klemz.

He was 35-7 with 22 pins last year, including 2-2 at state at 138, after winning the Section 5AAA crown and posting his 100th with a pin in the semifinals. As a sophomore, he went 35-7 with 21 pins, losing his lone state match. This season, his 4-1 start includes a 1-0 decision over the No. 9-ranked wrestler and a 4-0 loss to a former state champ.

Donnay, asked what Anderson’s natural gifts are, said: “His flexibility is the main thing. He is stronger than he looks, too.”

Anderson said he started wrestling in fifth grade because some friends were wrestlers. He played football for a while but stopped in 10th grade. He doesn’t wrestle tournaments in the spring and summer but works out with St. Michael’s High Flyers club.

He is the fourth of nine children of Mark and Mary Anderson, home-schooled like all his siblings. Two younger brother have followed him in wrestling.

This will likely be Anderson’s last year of wrestling. He enjoys working with his dad in the family business — installing floors, tile and carpeting — and intends to go full-time next year.

“I have no college plans,” said Anderson.

“Many (college coaches) ask about him,” Donnay said, “but he’s not interested.”

Regarding individual goals for his senior season, Anderson said he has none in particular, except to compete hard and stay healthy.

The Rogers co-captain (with Connor Larson) has a team goal, though, now that the Royals are filling out their lineup better than previous years. They’ve won their first two duals and took second among 10 teams at the Maple Grove tournament.

“I’m very excited about the team this year,” Anderson said. “A lot of kids started coming to camps this summer. We’ve gotten better. It would be great if we could go to state as a team.”


Phillip Anderson
Phillip Anderson

Personal file — Age: 17 … Sport: wrestling … Family: parents Mark and Mary; brothers Drew, 22, Joey, 20, Charles, 15, Luke, 13, William, 11, Robert, 9; sisters Laura, 21, and Sarah, 4 … Next year: work in the family business

Favorite stuff — Class: math, science … Movie: “Treasure Planet” … Music: country … Team: all the Minnesota teams … Hobbies: hunting, fishing, biking