Over the last five years, Shawnee Mission East has seen one of its golfers win the Kenneth Smith Award four times.
This year, it was junior Thomas Luger who took home the award that honors a Kansas City area male and female golfer who demonstrates excellence in performance, academic achievement, leadership and community service. St. James Academy’s Caroline Klemp was the female recipient of the award in November.
Luger placed second at the Class 6A state tournament in May, losing in a playoff after tying for the low score of 70. SM East finished second overall.
Heading into the state tournament, Luger was second in Class 6A with an average score of 73.6. He had won his previous three tournaments and placed second after a playoff at the Free State Invitational before that.
Luger became both an All-State and All-Sunflower League first-team member and in the classroom boasted a 4.31 grade-point average.
“It’s a huge honor, just to be in the same category as those guys who won it before me,” Luger said in an interview with KSHB-41 following the ceremony held at SM East last week.
University of Kansas golfer Andy Spencer received the Kenneth Smith trophy two seasons in a row, including last year when he and Luger led SM East to a team championship. Luger’s win is the sixth for the SM East program, including Anne Willman who won it in 2012-13, since the first awards were distributed in the 1999-2000 school year.
The Kenneth L. and Eva S. Smith Foundation presented a $5,000 contribution in Luger’s honor to The First Tee of Kansas City to support its child development programs.