Seven Cheyenne Mountain High School student-athletes signed national letters of intent during a festive Feb. 5 ceremony.
Among them were two Division I-bound athletes in James LaCerte (lacrosse, University of Denver) and Harper Lehman (swimming, University of Utah).
LaCerte and Lehman were joined on stage by Frances Hayward (swimming, Williams College); Trevor Niedzwiecki (lacrosse, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University); Kaelin Coe (volleyball, University of Alabama-Huntsville); Hannah Svarverud (volleyball, Occidental College); and Devin Dodson (baseball, University of South Carolina-Lancaster).
Lacerte joins a DU program that is coached by Bill Tierney, one of collegiate lacrosse’s legendary coaches. He directed the Pioneers to the 2015 NCAA Division I national championship. He has coached seven teams to D-I titles, also leading Princeton to six championships before arriving in Denver in 2010.
“It’s a little intimidating, but I know I am going to a great program with some great players,” LaCerte said. “I wanted to stay in-state and there is no better place I would rather be than DU.”
LaCerte committed to DU in the winter of his junior year. He has played for Denver Elite, DU’s club program, for years and is familiar with many of the Pioneers’ players and coaches.
“The lacrosse community is very close,” LaCerte said. “I feel very comfortable going where I’m going.”
LaCerte helped the 2018 Cheyenne Mountain lacrosse team to the Class 4A state championship as a sophomore. He scored 28 goals (fourth-best on the team) while playing midfielder.
Last spring, LaCerte helped lead the Indians back to the finals with his 39 goals (third-best). The Indians lost to Golden, 10-9, in overtime.
“Our goal is to get back to the finals again this year,” LaCerte said. “We have a lot of talented players coming back and I think we can do it.”
Indians coach Mike Paige said LaCerte is a special player and person.
“James going to DU is a testament to who he is as an athlete and a man,” Paige said.
LaCerte played varsity football for Cheyenne Mountain into his junior season. A three-year starter, he rushed for 818 yards and 10 touchdown as a sophomore, and also caught 20 passes for 102 yards. He played just four games as a junior before injuries ended his season, and ultimately his football career.
Lehman joins a Utah swim team that ranks among the best in the Pac-12 Conference.
“I’m very honored to get this opportunity and I am very excited,” Lehman said. “Your whole life leads up to a moment when you decide where you’re going to go. You put a lot of faith in a program, and say ‘I think this program is going to take me to the next level.’
“I’ve been training for over a decade and Utah checks every single box.”
Lehman helped Cheyenne Mountain to the 4A state title as a freshman in 2017 and is the school record-holder in the 100-yard backstroke.
At last year’s state championship, Lehman placed first in the 100-meter butterfly and took second in the 200-meter individual medley.
Hayward is Cheyenne Mountain’s record-holder in the 500-meter freestyle and is currently ranked No. 1 in the state in the 500 free.
Coe and Svarverud helped the Indians to the 4A state volleyball semifinals last fall.
Dodson is a catcher and pitcher for the Indians baseball team and helped the club make postseason runs in 2018 and 2019.