Mat Classic has lost its icon.
Longtime announcer Ed Aliverti died earlier this week in Seattle after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Aliverti, who lived in Edmonds, was 77.
Aliverti had been the announcer at every Mat Classic until he missed the 2007 event because of health reasons. He returned in 2008, but was too weak to perform last year.
Aliverti left an indelible mark on wrestling in Washington and across the world.
“His vitality, the passion he had for the sport and the kids was tremendous,” said Mike Colbrese, executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. “He had a unique way of presenting his love of country.”
Colbrese said the WIAA is planning a way to honor Aliverti at Mat Classic XXII in two weeks. It’s possible that his unique rendition of “America the Beautiful” will be played. A recording has been used in recent years when he was absent because of his health problems.
Aliverti has announced at wrestling tournaments all over the world, including five Olympics, beginning with the 1984 games in Los Angeles. He got his start in the sport when, as choir teacher at Edmonds High School in the 1960s, he recruited six wrestlers to his group. He was impressed with how the boys stuck together, and attended a few wrestling practices and meets to learn more. Soon after, the wrestling coach persuaded him to announce the team’s matches, and he continued for almost 50 years.
“I just developed a style of announcing that people seem to like,” Aliverti told The News Tribune in 2008.
Aliverti is survived by his wife Shirley and three daughters.