GOSHEN, Ind. — In the 2022-2023 school-year, nine different fifth-year seniors participated in Goshen College Athletics.

Many of those nine were allowed to return to the sport that they loved because of one of the rare benefits that came from the COVID-19 pandemic: one free year of eligibility.

This extra season of eligibility allows current fifth-year’s like Emily Brandeberry, of the women’s basketball team, to return not only to her team, but also to the classroom.

In her fifth year, Brandeberry has learned valuable lessons beyond the court, which she believes will help her eventually transition into a role on the sideline as a coach, and in the classroom as a future educator.

For Jackson Steinmetz, a current senior who’s made the commitment to return in the fall of 2023, the decision to come back for year five comes with a role change, as he steps out of the typical leadership position in order to help allow the team’s future leaders take over.

While the decision is an easy one for some, Steinmetz found himself battling with the justification of returning for a fifth season. He eventually decided to return to the sport that he loves, in part because the extra semester will allow him to obtain an additional minor in graphic design.

Fifth-year student-athletes are the heart and soul of many teams; they’ve got the experience, they’ve got the drive, and they have the knowledge to guide their teams in ways that others can’t.

Whether it’s a student-athlete giving it one last go at meaningful time on the court, or shaping the future of the group that’s stuck by one-another through thick and thin, the bond created between a fifth-year and their team is perhaps the strongest one can have.

– Dante Stanton, Sports Director, Globe Media

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