ELLENBORO -Years ago, Sydney Snodgrass made a promise to herself about eventually playing golf at the Division I level in the southern portion of the United States.
Wednesday evening during a ceremony at the Ritchie County High School library, Snodgrass fulfilled her wish by signing her national letter of intent with the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The senior completed her golfing career with the Rebels as a three-time all-stater and played on two state championship teams.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Ritchie County golfer Sydney Snodgrass, seated in the middle, signed her national letter of intent with Division I University of Alabama at Birmingham during a ceremony Wednesday at the Ritchie County High School library. Joining Snodgrass in the front row from left, are her mother, Jackie, and her father, Mike. In the back row: Carolyn Varner (grandmother), Ritchie County principal Kelly Waggoner and Ritchie County golf coach Ted VanScoy.
"From as far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to play Division I golf in the south," Snodgrass said. "That's always been a dream of mine. For me to get that opportunity is so satisfying to know that all the hard work has come to this."
Earlier this month at Stonewall Resort, Snodgrass was recognized by the West Virginia Golf Association as both the Girls Player of the Year and the Women's Player of the Year.
"I'm going to continue to work hard and hopefully my game will continue to grow and get better," Snodgrass said.
According to her father, Mike Snodgrass, his daughter displayed a natural golf swing at the age of 3. By the age of 8 and 9, she was entering tournaments and competing against girls from all over the world.
"Sydney always had real good hand-eye coordination," Mike Snodgrass said. "Her first swing was long - it was a John Daly swing. It went way past parallel and stayed like that until she started seeing her swing coach."
A swing coach entered the picture during Sydney's sophomore year. She felt her game had hit a roadblock, but after hooking up with Sarah Yost out of Fairmont her game reached a new level.
"I wasn't getting any better and it got real frustrating, so I knew I had to make some changes," Sydney said. "I decided to go to Sarah and see what happens. She has been a great coach and I've learned so much more about the game of golf -not only about my swing, but just about the game in general."
Yost was Sydney's caddy during her championship run at this year's WVGA Women's Amateur.
"When I was down one going into the 17th hole, I think Sarah was the only one who still believed in me that point," Sydney said.
During the current calendar year, Snodgrass has competed in several tours - including the Golfweek Junior Tour, PGA Junior Series and the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour. Her tournaments covered nearly the entire Eastern Seaboard.
This past fall, Snodgrass' presence made quite an impact on the rest of the Ritchie County golf team. Rebels coach Ted VanScoy firmly believes that without Snodgrass taking the time to work with her younger teammates they would not have finished second at the Little Kanawha Conference Meet and more importantly upset eventual Class AA state champion Roane County at regionals.
"Sydney took the sophomores and the kids who were just learning how to play golf, and she taught them how to approach golf," VanScoy said. "This year, she was a true leader."
Snodgrass carries an above 4.00 grade-point average and tentatively plans to major in forensic science at UAB.
"I will work just as hard on my academics as I do my golf game," Snodgrass said.