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Koko the Kid

Youngest of three sisters, Wooley lives up to high family standards
Pranay Dhoopar
Illustration of Koko Wooley

The love of the game was instilled in last season’s leading player in batting average, triples, hits and stolen bases from her older sisters. From endless games of backyard baseball and broken windows to broken teeth, Koko Wooley has the respect of her siblings. 

Her tenacity and vibrancy soon proved that she was going to move on to do great things. When Koko struggled with a health condition that caused her to have seizures when she was a toddler, her family was concerned for her and her future. But Koko was a courageous fighter, her sister Sisi Wooley said. 

Koko’s sisters, Sisi and Desiree Dawson, said they could tell the shortstop would make it to the collegiate level early on. With Koko’s college commitment happening her eighth-grade year, Sisi admitted she thought her younger sister would make it at a high level during Koko’s seventh-grade year. Dawson — on the other hand — knew much earlier.

“I knew that Koko was going to be able to play at this level at like 7 years old”.

— Desiree Dawson Wooley

Impressing Dawson and Sisi was not as easy as some may perceive. Both of Koko’s older sisters were collegiate softball players. Dawson played first and third base at Southern University. Starting at Prairie View A&M as a freshman to ending at Eastern New Mexico as a graduate student, Sisi played for four different programs as a shortstop.

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Koko has started in 114 of the 115 games A&M has played since her time began as an Aggie. She has racked up accolades such as a NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Award nominee and an SEC Co-Player of the Week on April 11, 2023. Behind all of the honors, Koko was still an underclassman away from home.

Texas A&M infielder Koko Wooley (3) reacts after hitting a walk off during Texas A&M’s game against Auburn on Sunday, March 24, 2024, at Davis Diamond. (Lana Cheatham/The Battalion) (Photo by Lana Cheatham)

 “My freshman year of just learning how to fail [was the hardest] because this is a game of failure,” Koko said. “It took me a minute to learn how to fail, so that was tough.”

However, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Her teammates helped her through tough times, like senior infielder Rylen Wiggins, who took on the role of big sister to Koko upon the shortstop’s arrival. Koko soon learned what it entailed after getting settled in Aggieland.

“You learn that it’s really not for you,” Koko said. “It’s for what’s on the front of your jersey. You’re doing it for your teammates, you’re doing it for the program, you’re doing it to win.”

With the passion for the game and quality that she puts out, it is no shock that Koko has a strong work ethic. After playing a majority of the 2023 season with a broken finger and still leading the team in many statistics, there is not a doubt that Koko will do anything for her team.

“She just takes everything to the chin, and she does what she has to do,” Sisi said.

— Sisi Wooley

Her seriousness on the diamond does not always translate to the bench. While she appeared earnest at bat and earned three home runs in her sophomore season, Koko lets loose when it’s not game time. Her pregame routine tends to consist of listening to SkeeYee and making TikToks with her teammates. From Mic’d Up videos to meet and greets with fans, Koko is unapologetically herself all the time.

“She was very active, very just all over the place,” Dawson said. “A lot of the silliness that you see in the dugout, that’s how she’s been since she was little.”

Dawson noted that Koko should never be taken as lackadaisical, rather stoic yet kind. Her dedication does not stop at softball but extends to people and the connections she has with them as well. 

“She always wants people to feel welcome,” Dawson said. “She always wants people to feel at home, so I think her greatest trait off the field is that she cares about people. She’s very family oriented. She wants everyone to feel included, so I think that goes a long way with the relationships she has built all her life and even the ones that she has built at Texas A&M.”

Countdown to the Women's College World Series
Countdown to the Women's College World Series

This story was originally published on The Battalion on March 26, 2024.