West Allegheny sophomore Sadie Snatchko loves to compete.
Last year, she joined her school’s flag football team and has relished her time on the field.
“The opportunities I get from playing football, I got to play at Acrisure (Stadium). I get to play with all these different schools”, Snatchko said. “And then I am also playing on one of the first teams to try to make this a sanctioned sport.”
Two weeks ago, Snatchko competed in the Western Pennsylvania girls flag football championships along with dozens of other girls, but there’s another sport Snatchko has really taken to: race car driving.
“When I tell people I race, they think I’m joking,” she said. “They think it’s go-carts or little matchbox cars. But when I show them pictures or the GoPro clips, they’re shocked that I do that.”
Even her own family didn’t expect her to take on the sport.
“When she approached me about building a car three years ago or buying a car, my first comment was ‘no’ because I didn’t want her to get hurt,” said Snatchko’s grandfather, Mark. “She said to me, ‘Well it wouldn’t be your fault because I’m the one driving the car and if I wreck it, it’s my fault.'”
That level of accountability goes beyond the track. She helped build her car alongside her father and grandfather. As soon as that car was ready for the track, Sadie jumped right in and never looked back.
“She started at 14 years old, she was never behind the wheel in a car. She just had the natural ability of how to steer the car, how to make it go, how to back it up,” her father, Mark Snatchko, said. “It just kinda all came natural to her.”
Last weekend, Sadie won her first race this year at the PPMS Raceway in Imperial, but she says winning is actually secondary to her main goal.
“My first race last week, I had a little girl come up to me and say that she comes out to watch me every week at the racetrack,” she said. “It’s just cool to be recognized and be like a role model to other girls.”
In addition to going to school, playing flag football and racing, Sadie is also a volunteer firefighter, which is more along the lines of what she wants to pursue as an adult.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be a paramedic,” Sadie said. “So I’m going to go to an 18-month EMT school and be an EMT for a few years so I can learn off of my paramedic partner and then go back to paramedic school to become a paramedic.”
If you’re interested in watching Sadie and many others race on the dirt track, you can check her out Saturday night and every Saturday night throughout the summer at PPMS Raceway.