LEWISTON, Minn. — A student athlete at a southeastern Minnesota high school has managed to earn his high school diploma as well as a two-year college degree in the last four years.

Lewiston-Altura High School senior Spencer Speltz will be awarded his high school diploma a few weeks after receiving his associate's degree, the Winona Daily News reported .

"I didn't really think about it, but the end goal was cool to look at," he said.

Speltz realized at the beginning of his senior year that he had enough college credits that he could also obtain an associate's degree.

"Once it was in his mind, it just became a challenge for him," said Carrie Speltz, his mom. "Our family has always been competitive like that — not necessarily trying to beat other people, but always trying to one-up ourselves."

Spencer Speltz started taking postsecondary educational opportunity classes at Minnesota State College Southeast his sophomore year. This past school year he transitioned to taking online college courses on a full-time basis.

He also played soccer, basketball and baseball at the high school.

"When I look back," he said, "it was worthwhile in the end."

High school students have a wide range of opportunities available to them, said Jo Poncelet, dean of academics at Minnesota State College Southeast.

"For one thing, they get the opportunity to experience college while still in high school," she said. "They're also saving a lot of time and money while taking these classes. We're seeing more and more high schools opting in."

Spencer Speltz plans to attend Viterbo University in La Crosse in the fall, with a major in engineering and a minor in business administration.