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THS grad Heller tirelessly works on her golf game
Spencer Heller
Spencer Heller, a Turlock High graduate, has been working all summer on improving from her successful freshman season at Sonoma State. - photo by Photo courtesy of Sonoma State athletics
There’s no second-guessing about how Spencer Heller earned her place in golf.And that’s by hard work.It’s a cliché to say, since practically every athlete at her level is always busy working tirelessly during the offseason. But the Turlock High graduate has proven that she wants to get better every time she’s on a golf course. Just look at how she did during her freshman season at Sonoma State, where she earned the right to be called an All-American.What now?
“This summer I’m trying to do more after going through a year of college,” Heller said.
She’s doing more than just taking lessons at Stevinson Ranch and helping out with a youth camp there before she goes back to Sonoma State. Her exercise routine includes cardio workouts and weight training — things that will help build her endurance and strength.There’s some pressure for Heller to top her freshman campaign, when she was named an Honorable Mention All-American after finishing in the top 10 at 11 of her 13 competitions during the 2009-10 season and earning individual medalist honors at the Pioneer Shootout and runner-up finishes at the NCAA West Regional and the Dominican Invitational at San Rafael’s Peacock Gap Golf Course, where she tied a single-round school record by carding a score of 69.Not to mention securing 10th place at the NCAA Division II Championships.“She surprised a lot of us,” Sonoma State coach Val Verhunce said.He learned of Heller’s talent after she contacted the coach about possibly becoming a Seawolf. Once the college season began, Verhunce noticed that then-senior Brittany Carrera — who earned an All-American nod the year before — became a mentor for Heller. It all helped the Seawolves turn into a unified team, one that finished fifth in the program’s first-ever trip to the national tournament.Heller was glad to be a part of it.Though she started playing at a young age, she wasn’t competitive about golf until around age 11 and 12. It reached a serious level during her days at Turlock High. “I think I was probably the most competitive player on my team,” she said. “Because I wanted to play further golf, I spent a lot of time practicing.”At Turlock High, Heller was the Central California Conference MVP and earned All-Stanislaus District honors.She’s now focused on moving forward.“The only thing I ask of my players is for her to do her best and improve on what she did the year before,” Verhunce said.To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.