Three seniors of the Virginia Wesleyan softball team opted in for their extra year of eligibility due to the shortened 2020 season. COVID-19 forced a premature ending to every spring season.
Jessica Goldyn, Hanna Hull, and Madison Glaubke accepted the opportunity to get back on the diamond with their teammates. Now all three are looking towards the spring where they hope to pursue another national championship for the Marlins.
Hull and Glaubke look to capture their third national championship in their fifth year at Virginia Wesleyan. They won back to back championships in 2017 and 2018. After failing to reach the championship in 2019 and their 2020 season cut short, both look to be in a select few college athletes that have three national championship rings.
Each spring athlete was presented with the opportunity to extend their collegiate career due to COVID-19. Division I and II athletes have an easier decision on if to come back for an extra year. Division III does not offer athletic scholarships.
The decision to come back for an extra year of college isn’t one to be taken lightly. Could an athlete afford to pay for an extra year of college if it was just to play a possible spring season. Every spring athlete that chose to come back had to weigh the options of returning during the pandemic.
Hull expressed the importance of continuing her education on her decision to come back: “ I think the Master’s program played a big part in that. I think it was a good choice all around.”
With COVID-19 still wreaking havoc, athletes haven’t been able to truly bond together off the field. Glaubke talks about one thing she misses the most:
“It’s really hard to go to practice and not be able to hug your teammates because they are literally your family. Not be able to hug my friends or give my friends a high five that kind of sucks, and I think one thing that I’m also worried about is my teammates getting sick and potentially coaches getting sick.”
Glaubke and Goldyn both talked about what they hope their teammates think of them coming back for an extra year:
“Give the freshman the idea like damn they’re actually paying more money to come back and play. Having them see us come back and pay more money to come back to just play softball I think that gives them some kind of [thinking] like they must really have some love and bond for this program that made them want to come back.”
Goldyn talked about the group coming back for another season: “We definitely could have won a national championship last year and I just want to finish what we started so I wanted them by my side while I came back too.”
Hull talked about her emotions when she got the news about Glaubke and Goldyn returning with her:
“That was a really great feeling. We are so close. Having them say man I don’t want to do it without you just kind of pushed me in that direction. It meant a lot to me to know that they wanted me to be a part of that too, and I think that is definitely something that swayed my decision.”
Virginia Wesleyan Softball announced in late May that all three seniors would be returning with an Instagram post that simply said, “We’re back.”
By Nicholas Mundy