Eighth grade was the year that Shawnee Mission East’s Andy Spencer truly committed to the game of golf.
He had previously split his time and effort with baseball, but three years later the decision paid off as he was presented with the Kenneth Smith Award in front of friends and family at the school library Wednesday.
The award honors one Kansas City area male and female golfer who demonstrates excellence in performance, academic achievement, leadership and community service. Blue Springs’ Mariah Peters won the girls’ award in the fall.
“I knew that if I played to the best of my abilities I could have a chance and thankfully, I was able to do it,” Spencer said.
It was the second award in three years for the program, following current Kansas golfer Chase Hanna. Spencer is scheduled to join him next fall after playing his senior season for the Lancers.
Spencer finished his junior campaign with a school-record 71.2 stroke average. He said the first person he texted after accomplishing the feat was Hanna, who held the previous record.
Spencer won the three-round Sunflower League by 7 strokes, placed third in his regional and shot 69 to win the Kansas Class 6A state title. The Lancers finished third.
In the classroom, he posted a 3.8 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, earning a spot on the school’s academic honor role and the National Honor Society.
He is an active member of school organizations and volunteers in the community at a local food pantry, a retirement home and various fundraising events.
“It is a really special day,” Spencer said. “I never really thought I could achieve this and it is a dream come true.”
The Kenneth L. and Eva S. Smith Foundation presented a $5,000 contribution in Spencer’s honor to The First Tee of Kansas City to support its child development programs.