Kat Woolman has had quite the journey to becoming a Husker.
Woolman’s journey began in Pusan, South Korea, where she was born. Woolman was adopted at an early age by her parents Ed and Vicki Woolman, who raised her in Lincoln. Growing up, Woolman turned to sports to fit in with the other kids in her neighborhood.
“As a young girl, I loved to run and play any kind of sports with all the neighbor kids,” she said. “I grew up in a neighborhood where I was the only girl. Basically, I had to play what the boys wanted to play, so I would play tackle football, basketball and on good days, baseball.
“Eventually, all the neighbor boys joined select teams for their favorite sports, and I was left alone. Since I was used to swinging a bat, softball became a natural fit, and I fell in love with the game.”
Several individuals helped Woolman’s love for the game grow, including her family, coaches and even a Kansas Jayhawk.
“Without my parents and the countless hours they spent and sacrifices they made, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “My brother Peter has been my No. 1 fan since day one. He might not know it, but he has been a huge part of my softball journey.”
A husband-and-wife coaching duo also played a large role in Woolman’s journey.
“The most influential people in my early years of softball were my coaches Dick and Kay Reinmiller,” she said. “They shared with me their love for the game. I learned to love and respect the game, my teammates and competition. They taught me how to work hard.”
With the support of her family and help from great coaches, Woolman was flourishing and by middle school, she had already set her sights on playing college softball.
“By seventh grade, I was loving softball,” Woolman said. “My teammates were my best friends. I spent all my free time working on my swing. It was my hitting instructor that year who first asked me if I wanted to play college softball. He encouraged me to attend a couple of camps and the rest is history.”
The rest may be history but there is still far more to Woolman’s story. Although she now had a path in front of her, Woolman’s journey was just getting started. She took her coach up on his advice and attended a Husker softball camp, where she would meet another influential person along her journey. At the camp, Woolman was introduced to Destiny Frankenstein, a former Kansas star who was serving as a camp instructor.
“I met Destiny when she was an instructor at a Nebraska softball clinic. We hit it off immediately,” Woolman said. “After that clinic, I began working with her on hitting and fielding once per week. Destiny taught me to pay attention to the details. She showed me that doing the little things right is the most important ingredient to making a great softball player.”
Woolman focused on the little things well enough to start earning the attention of college coaches. She posted a .470 career batting average for Lincoln Pius X High School with 39 doubles and 20 home runs. The honorary captain of the Lincoln Journal Star Super State team as a senior, Woolman added 128 career RBIs, a Nebraska Class B record.
One of the top players in the state, Woolman’s journey to becoming a Husker took a detour during her junior year in 2011, when she committed to Arkansas. But as time went on, she began to question her decision and Nebraska was never off of Woolman’s mind and Woolman remained on the Huskers’ radar.
“I had the fortune of playing for the Nebraska Gold softball program the last few years,” Woolman said. “A number of my teammates on Nebraska Gold have been recruited by Nebraska, so the Nebraska coaches were in the stands at most of our tournaments. They mentioned to my Nebraska Gold coaches that they would like to talk with me. The next thing I knew, I was invited for a campus visit and that experience sealed the deal for me.”
Nebraska Head Coach Rhonda Revelle said Woolman seemed comfortable and at home on her visit.
“When she came on an unofficial visit, it just seemed like this was the place she should be. It felt like home,” Revelle said. “We are grateful that Kat decided she wanted to stay closer to home and inquired if we would have room on our roster for her.”
While Woolman described her switch from Arkansas to Nebraska as a “very challenging time” she couldn’t pass up the chance to become a Husker.
“The family environment of the team was unlike anything I experienced elsewhere,” she said. “When people say ‘There is no place like Nebraska’ they’re telling the truth. You won’t find a better coaching staff, fans or facilities anywhere you go.”
As someone whose journey was highlighted by influential coaches and instructors, it comes as no surprise that what drew Woolman to Nebraska was the Husker coaching staff.
“I absolutely love this coaching staff,” she said. “They’re dedicated, hard-working and love their players. They will do anything they can to ensure their players succeed on and off the field. The Husker softball coaches ‘walk the walk’. Each of them exemplifies the qualities and character they expect from us. They are amazing women and great role models.”
Woolman’s journey to Nebraska is complete, but her time as a Husker has just begun. A high school infielder, the Husker coaches asked Woolman to move to the outfield this season. Revelle said her staff made the switch in order to “maximize Kat’s offensive opportunities.” Sure enough, Woolman has a chance to earn a starting spot in the Husker outfield this spring.
Whether or not Woolman wins a starting spot or stays in the outfield her entire career are stories for her new journey. All she knows for sure is that her journey to this point has put her right where she is supposed to be.
“It was clear I was meant to be a Husker.”
Three Things You Didn’t Know About Kat
1) She was born in South Korea.
2) She is addicted to shoes.
3) She loves snow skiing.