Perseverance pushes Panthers to SAC golf crown

September 17, 2020



Through pressure, nerves and strong citywide competition, Snider girls golf found itself victorious at the Summit Athletic Conference championships on Saturday, September 12.


The Lady Panthers shot a 374 at Brookwood Golf Club, beating the league’s perennial powerhouse, Bishop Dwenger, by 8 strokes.

“We were all on edge,” senior Abby Mayhew tells “That moment when (coach Mark) Matson told us we won, it was amazing. And I’m like, I did this as a senior. How incredible is that?”

It is Snider's first SAC title since 2009, which was also the last time a Fort Wayne Community Schools program won the team championship.

“There’s a lot of tough competition, a lot of great golfers in the league,” Matson says. “They kept working, they kept fighting and they kept improving. We knew the foundation was there. We knew the potential.”

Four of the five Panthers placed in the Top 10, earning 1st team All-SAC honors: junior Mia Birkenbeul tied for 2nd with a 90, sophomore Lexi Matthias placed 5th with a 93, Mayhew shot a 95 for 6th place and sophomore Anica Hall tied for 7th with a 96.

Snider girls golf 2020

“It’s all about the mental game,” Birkenbeul says. “You have to stay in it. If you have a bad hole, you have to come back and have a better hole."

Matson, who took over as head coach 2 years ago, admits he and assistant coach Jennifer Matthias (Lexi's mother) saw the makings of a conference championship team a year ago.

“(Former coach) Andy Owen gave me a good foundation,” Matson reflects. “We built a youth program. We got a lot of younger girls involved. We built it up to 13 girls this year. We continue to build and get better.”

On average, Snider girls golf has shaved 40 strokes off their team score versus competitions last season, he says. This year, the Lady Panthers started in the rough, losing their first two matches, but put in the work to claw their way atop the SAC leaderboard.

“All these girls have amazing potential. They will make this team stronger in the years to come,” Mayhew beams.

Snider will play in the Angola Sectional on Saturday, September 19, at Zollner Golf Course on the campus of Trine University.

Snider is one of 26 high schools that partner with Parkview Sports Medicine with athletic training, sports performance, nutrition, athletic training and other sports medicine services for Panther student-athletes. Learn more at


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written & produced by Eric Dutkiewicz

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