Team and family. A couple of terms you’ll find used a lot when you talk about Connors State College sophomore Kaylee Johnson and the Cowgirls softball team.
“I think the team aspect of softball is the thing I like best,” said the Coweta native. “I missed a semester with an injury my freshman year and was without a team and I missed that tremendously. I think being part of a team has been a key to what success I’ve had. Coach (Bryan) Howard has really tried to instill this team and family aspect to our program.”
Loud is another word that Johnson and others use to define the Connors first baseman.
“She’s definitely our vocal leader on and off the field,” said Howard. “She keeps the team and bench energized and the team feeds off it. She’s not necessarily a rah-rah kind of player but she’s very direct and outspoken about what is expected. She’s kind of like the point guard, if you will, of our softball team. It’s like having another coach on the field and since I’m just in my first full season here, it makes things easier for me as I try to implement my program.”
But maybe her biggest asset, according to Howard, is her resilience and that example she sets for others.
“She’s had to battle through some injuries and her work ethic really helped her bounce back. She is super-tough mentally and the rest of the team respects what she’s been through to get back.”
Kaylee herself admits that she’s always been somewhat outspoken.
“My mom played at Connors and so I’ve been around the game since I was three or so and I’ve always been very loud. I think at this point being loud and outspoken is what our team needs from me.”
Johnson offers up and pair of role models that found success at the next level as women she looks up to.
“I admire Rylee Bayless from Oklahoma State who was also a junior college transfer (from NEO). She always seemed to play with a fire you couldn’t put out. I also like Sydney Romero from OU. She just went about her business everyday and played with such a calmness about her.”
Kaylee’s team loyalty is another attribute that Howard admires.
“She’s very loyal to Connors State which makes her a great ambassador for our program. She’s certainly someone I want recruits to meet when they visit our school.”
Loyalty, resilience, a team-first attitude and, oh yes, loudness are just some of the qualities that make Kaylee Johnson a fine example of the Cowgirl Way.