Softball sisters lead team to victory

Sisters Kesley Wood, left, and Kendra Wood, right, pose for a portrait at the SF State Softball Field April 26, 2011. Jon Weiand / staff photographer

Softball standouts Kelsey and Kendra Wood have heard every joke in the book about identical twins. But don’t be fooled – being twins is just a small part of their story.

The Wood sisters have an interesting connection being identical twins, but they extend that connection on the field with Kelsey as the catcher and Kendra as the pitcher. According to them, they know what each is thinking without having to talk, which makes them a dangerous duo.

“For us it’s just normal,” Kendra Wood said. “Being twins is different for a lot of people, but we don’t even realize it.”

The Wood sisters followed in the footsteps of older sister Stephanie, an SF State alumna who also played softball at an early age. Ironically, their sister ended up disliking the sport while Kelsey and Kendra fell in love with it. Their father Alan coached them while they were young girls. Kelsey, who is a catcher, fell into the role when one of her youth teams needed to fill the position. Kendra wanted to be a pitcher, but their father felt that the pitcher to-catcher-relationship was too cliché because they were twins.

Destiny could not keep this from happening.

Both Kelsey and Kendra shined at Lynbrook High School in San Jose with Kendra achieving first-team recognition from the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League twice and Kelsey achieving the feat all four years of her high school career as well as a two-time SCVA league MVP. In high school they were sought out by various colleges, but one thing they knew was that they did not want to be separated.

“In college we knew we didn’t want to be split up,” Kelsey Wood said. “When we were being recruited we told coaches that we were a packaged deal.”

The packaged deal paid dividends as they led their team to back to back winning seasons in their first two years at SF State.

The twins’ leadership on the team is a role they strove to achieve. Their opposite personalities reflect the influence they have on the team. Kendra admits that she is the more reserved, passive sister, while Kelsey is one of the strongest voices on the team and takes it upon herself to keep the team in line.

This kind of leadership was what coach Cristina Byrne was hoping for as she and the Wood sisters entered SF State together back in 2008.

“They’re vocal leaders,” Byrne said. “They push the girls hard and make sure everything is going well internally with the team. I count on them a lot for team management.”

In addition to leadership, Kendra and Kelsey Wood have a great deal of heart.

Each of them has battled with numerous injuries and played through enormous pains to help their team win. Kendra has had issues with her elbow and leg which has limited her pitching capabilities, and Kelsey tore her rotator cuff her sophomore year, resulting in surgery. She had the option of redshirting but chose to keep playing.

The Wood sisters have a fierce competitive nature and a will to win.

Their lives have been so consumed with softball for so many years that most would think they would not have time to do much outside of the student-athlete realm. But they have proved otherwise.

The twins have worked part-time jobs at 24 Hour Fitness and for the San Francisco Giants together. They have also completed internships; Kelsey has interned for a behavioral psychiatric ward in San Jose while Kendra has interned for Lynbrook High School’s special education program.

They both will be graduating from SF State this year and their plans for future continue their ambition. Kendra has been accepted into Notre Dame de Namur’s graduate program and Kelsey is currently awaiting responses from various graduate institutions.

Kelsey and Kendra will soon trade in their softball uniforms for a cap and gown as their four solid years of SF State softball will soon be a memory, but their story has not ended.

The page has just turned.

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