Pep band plays for Division I Volleyball Final Four game

Central High band students are used to the atmosphere of high school basketball, but big-time college volleyball is a different story.  

Before winter break, the Central pep band got the chance to play for the University of San Diego’s volleyball team at the 2022 NCAA Division I Final Four in Omaha.  

In September, the band performed at a Creighton women’s soccer game, where senior Ross Paule’s father is the coach. Paule’s father heard that USD needed a band and immediately brought up the name of Central High. “He is the reason we pretty much did this,” Paule said. 

Jeffery Malecki, the San Diego music education and band director, explained the absence of their pep band. “It isn’t that uncommon to have local schools step in and play for schools that are traveling. Most wouldn’t be able to miss classes to travel, academics are high priority for most USD students. And of course, this saves the athletic department some travel funds,” he said.  

Central band director Chiyo Trauernicht agreed to the game but had one problem. Due to NCAA rules, only 30 of the 108 students were allowed to participate. Trauernicht didn’t feel it was a challenge to choose her top 30. 

 “I was not worried at all hitting that 30 mark. I was worried about who to choose and who to offer this opportunity to,” she said. 

Trauernicht hand selected her best upperclassmen musicians and a few sophomores. One of those sophomores, Becca Rock, was honored to be chosen, even saying it affected her leadership capabilities, “I feel that I am becoming a leader in band and being able to go to the game was so rewarding” she said.  

Senior Tate Underwood felt being chosen was expected. “They wanted the seniors to have a big boy role. And you know, it felt nice,” he said.  

Overall, the band had a really great time. Trauernicht expressed pride in her students.  

“When I need help, when school needs help, community needs service from us, we gather together and make it happen,” she said.   

Underwood said he had a nice experience. “It was very different from what I expected, a lot of people liked the pep band, and they were jamming,” he said. 

 Rock felt that Central became the spirit of San Diego, overall saying that the game was a thrilling experience and getting to play at a college game was cool.  

“The opportunity was amazing!” She said.  

USD ended up losing to Texas in the last two sets, but going to the game was an experience that the band will never forget.