Keeping the Mounties at the "Top of the Pyramid!"
(Walnut, CA) One of the largest cogs in the operations of Mt. SAC Athletics is the eligibility status of our student-athletes. For the past 14 years, monitoring and approving the eligibility of over 700 student-athletes has fallen on the shoulders of Mounties Athletic Eligibility Specialist AniSurei Escalera. Escalera’s personable and always friendly demeanor, along with her incredible “whatever it takes” work ethic, keeps the Mounties at the "Top of the Pyramid" and is a major component in the success of the athletic department.
Escalera’s crucial position requires knowledge of the vast complicated rules of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA). For each student-athlete it also requires scouring and compiling information to find G.P.A.’s, current number of units, recruiting area forms, number of units completed between seasons along with communication with the athletic trainers for physical clearance, academic advisors for additional academic requirement clearance (orientations, educational plans, etc.) and WIN Center Staff for mandatory study hall hours.
Prior to arriving at Mt. SAC, Escalera served as a home economics teacher at Bishop Amat High School (La Puente, CA).
Escalera, a gifted hip hop dancer, received a scholarship for her cheerleading ability to the University of Nebraska, where she received her degree in Family Science. As a member of the Cornhusker Cheerleading Program, she graced the top of cheer pyramids and supported the various athletic programs at Nebraska. A highlight of her time with Nebraska was performing at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
Today, Escalera is a proud mother of daughter Grace (11) and son Jack (8), along with her husband and fellow Mt. SAC Employee Pat, who works in the Grounds Department.
Mt. SAC Division Information Director Brian Yokoyama (BY) spent some time with Escalera (AE) to discuss her current position, unique life experiences and her impact within the championship winning Mt. SAC Athletics Program.
BY – What drew you to apply for your current position?
AE – I’ve always been interested in athletics and how the department works. When I was in college I worked at the athletic department store. When I was a teacher at Bishop Amat, I would often help the Athletics Secretary with her work for fun. A friend that worked in Bishop Amat Athletics Department found out about the job and suggested that I apply.
BY – What are some of the most rewarding aspects about your job?
AE – I love the staff and coaches I work with at Mt. SAC. They are my family and have been with me through all of my big life experiences. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. I’m a MOUNTIE FOR LIFE!
BY – Coming out of Banning High School (Wilmington, CA) and moving to Lincoln, Nebraska must have been big change for you. How has that experience affected the way you interact with current student-athletes?
AE – I think being a former student-athlete has helped me understand the pressures and difficulties they go through. While moving to Nebraska, the day after I graduated, by myself was scary, but I had the best time while I was there. College was so much fun for me and I think it was because I was a student-athlete. There were so many Nebraska Student-Athletes from California (especially Los Angeles) that it was easy to find and make friends. I’m also someone who loves to meet new people, so that also helped. I had a lot of jobs while I was in school and sometimes struggled with getting schoolwork done, so I think I have an understanding for how hard it can be.
BY – After working this many years in your current position, what is the one thing that you would like student-athletes to understand better about athletic eligibility?
AE – The one thing I wish student-athletes would do more of is take advantage of all of the resources available to them at Mt. SAC. The WIN Program is such a fantastic resource for our student athletes. When I was a student-athlete, I spent so much time in our study hall. I mean why not, there’s someone there to help you with anything. I wish more student-athletes would use the WIN’s resources as well as the other great tutorial facilities on campus. This will help improve their grades GUARANTEED!
BY – As a huge sports fan, who are your favorite teams and sports figures?
AE – Well I am a huge sports fan! I especially love to watch college sports. My Huskers are my favorite, but I also love to watch college football, volleyball, softball, and even bowling. Nebraska has a great women’s bowling team and we even cheered at some of their matches. We (my husband and I), are HUGE Steelers Fans! My son Jack is named after two Pittsburgh Steelers players, Jack Lambert and Jerome Bettis. I’m also a Lakers and Dodgers fan. I also love women’s gymnastics and watching Olympic diving, swimming and trampoline. I’ve just gotten into playing golf, so I’ve come to appreciate watching golf more as well. I just love sports!
BY – If you could go back in time and back to college, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
AE – If I could go back to my college self and give myself a piece of advice it would be… don’t be afraid to ask for help. I was someone who always tried to do things on my own. I’ve learned that it’s OK to ask for help. Sometimes I would be ashamed to admit that I needed help and waited until it was almost too late. In my first semester at Nebraska, I took physics and it was a real struggle for me. I wouldn’t go to class and I was having too much fun socially. I ended up failing that class and almost lost my scholarship. That was a real wake up call for me. I took advantage of the resources available, talked with my professors and was able to get it together.
CLICK HERE to view Anisurei Esclera’s complete bio.
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.