It was the news Kyle Anderberg had hoped for; He had been chosen as the newest Aztec Warrior.
"It just shocked me,” said the third-year civil engineering major. “I called a couple of my friends. It kind of blew up and people started getting excited about it."
Among the most excited were Anderberg’s family members in his hometown of San Jose. After an initial phone call, he almost immediately started hearing from other relatives – first an aunt texted him, then his grandmother called from New York.
“It was funny,” he said. “They all knew about it. They're all congratulating me and they want to know when the first nationally-televised game is that I'll be on. That might take a while.”
Taking on the persona
Anderberg beat out four other finalists, including one believed to be the first woman ever to apply for the position, during tryouts Oct. 1 at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.
A selection committee, composed of alumni and athletics staff along with current Aztec Warriors and students representing SDSU’s cheer squad and dance team, conducted interviews and tested candidates’ spirit skills.
“Kyle showed everybody he has a passion for being a San Diego State Aztec and embodies what it is to be an Aztec for life,” said Christian Deleon (’09), the athletic department’s director of corporate and community relations who organized the tryouts. "He did a good job. He led everybody in ‘The Fight Song’ and really got everybody pumped up. It was nice to see him transform from the normal student to taking on that persona.”
Before he can take on the Aztec Warrior persona in front of thousands of screaming SDSU fans, Anderberg must spend some time shadowing current Warriors Dexter Gareau and Oscar Deleon during football and basketball games and other public appearances. He’ll also need to bulk up.
"It's going to be a lot of hard work because I'm not the biggest guy,” Anderbeg Admits. “I know I have to put on a little bit of weight - put on some muscle to really play the part the way they want it to be portrayed.”
Among the Warrior aspirants not chosen was 19-year-old Diamonte Harper. The sophomore theater major from Sacramento had hoped her performance experience and background as a high school athlete would land her the role as the first female Warrior.
"It was very cool to see her
take that leap and want to
audition for the Aztec Warrior."
“I feel like it would add a new flavor to the Aztec Warrior team," Harper said of her desire to capture the role. “My theater background brings creativity, energy and the ability to appear comfortable while being uncomfortable. As the first Aztec Warrior woman, I'd have to do that, but after the first or second game I think all the doubts would go away."
Asked whether Harper had made Aztec history just by trying out, Christian Deleon couldn’t be one hundred percent certain.
"We don't know what happened in the fifties, sixties or back in that day, but we assume she was the first woman to try out,” he said. “For me, it was very cool to see her take that leap and want to audition for the Aztec Warrior."
For Anderberg now, it’s all about getting up to speed so he can solo as the Warrior. His experience as a high school trumpet player should help reduce the conch-shell-blowing learning curve.
As a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon his involvement with the Interfraternity Council and the Associated Students Council has helped eliminate any fear of public speaking. Plus, Anderberg has a supportive role model for his position in the public eye. His brother Eric, two years older, is vice president of finance for Associated Students.
“He’s proud of me,” said Anderberg, who added that he is ready to accept the high-profile responsibility of building pride among the campus community and Aztec alumni everywhere.
“I’m just really excited to carry on the tradition of the Aztec Warrior and I’m going to do my best to preserve the tradition and keep it going.”