2017 NCAA Trip: Wes Carney
Hello, my name is Wes Carney and I am a member of the University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands. I am a 4th year mechanical engineering student and I play alto saxophone. I’d like to share with you my experience on the trip to Sacramento during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
On Sunday, March 12th, the tournament bracket was announced and Cincinnati was picked to play in Sacramento, California. For someone who has experienced many cold springs in Ohio, this was an exciting opportunity to travel to a warm part of the country. This would be my second trip to the state of California and my first to the state’s capitol. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to fly out to the west coast.
A few days later, Tuesday the 14th, we hopped onto a charter flight and travelled to The Golden State. We were greeted by fantastic weather and plenty of friendly people. After arriving at the hotel late in the evening, a group of us ran to the closest In-N-Out Burger where we found some of UC’s basketball team.
The following day, a large group of band members and cheerleaders were driven to San Francisco. We started off with a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge for some photo opportunities. Although the weather was a bit chilly, this was easily one of the best moments from the trip. We were then dropped off at Fisherman’s Wharf where the group was allowed to wander for a while. My mini-group ate at Boudin Bakery & Café, visited Ghiradelli Square, and walked down the infamous Lombard Street. To finish the mini-trip in San Francisco, we visited Twin Peaks, one of the highest points in the city.
On Thursday the 16th, we visited several local schools in Sacramento. First was O.W. Erlewine Elementary School on the east side of the city. We found tons of excited young children who loved the music we played and the show that the cheerleaders put on. We even played basketball with some of them after we were done performing. Next, we drove 15 minutes west to visit Sutter Middle School. The students at this school had incredible energy and spirit. Mike Bohn, UC’s Director of Athletics, did a fantastic job of pushing the idea of encouragement and support. Highlights from our trip to the schools can be seen here.
Another day later, it was finally time for UC to play their first game against the Kansas State Wildcats. We started off with a pep rally at the Sauced BBQ, a restaurant and bar directly next to the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. Before the game began, we decorated ourselves in face paint and accessories. I decided to wear a fuzzy red mustache which ended up getting on camera. In an exhausting and up-and-down opening game, UC managed to get by the Wildcats.
On Saturday the 18th, the band and cheerleaders ventured into Old Sacramento, a historic district of the city. We visited a candy store by the name of Candy Heaven, watched a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, listened to a live street band, ate ice cream, visited gift shops, and walked along the Sacramento River. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and preparing for a long and tiring Sunday.
When the final day arrived, we made our way back to downtown Sacramento to face the UCLA Bruins. After another pep rally at the Sauced BBQ, we had the chance to take a picture with Renee Caupain, the mother of Troy Caupain. For this game, three of us decided to wear the fuzzy mustaches, giving us an appearance on national television. Unfortunately, the hostile environment and the sharp-shooting of the Bruins proved too much for UC and the Bearcats’ run was over.
Although we didn’t manage to win both games, this will certainly go down as one of the most fun trips I’ve ever had the chance to go on. Thanks to all of the wonderful people who helped to make it a great time! Go Bearcats!
Mechanical Engineering Major
Saxophone Section Leader