Andrew Lucero joined Hart’s boys lacrosse team because he was drawn to the team aspect and working with others to win. Jacob Montes stayed on the team because of the bonds he created with his teammates.
Now, the sport and team that they came to enjoy so much are giving back to them. Both Lucero and Montes signed their National Letters of Intent at a signing day ceremony at Hart High School on Thursday, with Lucero headed to Dominican University of California and Montes to Northern Arizona University.
Lucero, a long stick defender, immediately felt at home at Dominican University’s campus, which is located in San Rafael, on his visit. He’ll also be joining Justin Fox, a former Valencia lacrosse player who will be a sophomore in the coming season in Division 1 in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association.
“I met some of the guys that play on the team and you can tell how close the team was,” Lucero said. “My team was super close, so I wanted to go and have that same kind of thing. Bonding with my teammates and I believe going there would be the best thing for me because it’s a really close team and it’s a really good team as well.”
Montes will travel to Flagstaff, Arizona after a senior year that included MVP honors on both the lacrosse and football teams. He also had 25 goals, 31 assists and 103 ground balls.
A three-year varsity starter, Montes will join a Lumberjacks program that is currently a Division 2 club team that will likely become a Division 1 program in the future.
Northern Arizona won the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference title this season, going 3-0 in conference play and 9-3 overall.
“When we went out there to practice, when I visited, when we got there, their team was very welcoming,” Montes said. “Just a bunch of good guys, it seemed really cool bonding-wise and not a lot of teams, a lot of schools have had that as far as the team goes. They were just very welcoming and that’s just a big plus going in and them trying to be D-1 at some point.”
Lucero and Montes both credited their time with coach Tony Uebelhardt as a reason they are playing in college, saying he helped hone their lacrosse abilities.
Lucero joined the lacrosse team after losing enthusiasm for playing football. A friend encouraged him to play lacrosse and with some help from Uebelhardt, he was able to develop leadership abilities through the sport.
He also had 20 ground balls, 18 caused turnovers and eight blocked shots in his senior season.
“It taught me how to think on my feet,” Lucero said. “It was a new sport I didn’t know how to play, but it excited me. Lacrosse just taught me that I can do a lot more than I thought I could and I can even go to college for it.”
As a team this season, Hart set a program record for wins by going 13-6 overall and 4-2 in Foothill League play. It also made history by defeating Valencia for the first time in program history.
The Indians finished second in league in the inaugural Foothill League season behind West Ranch. Sending two players off to college only adds to the legitimacy of the growing Hart program.
“Hopefully from here on it’ll just kind of encourage players to not be afraid to go out and just try and play lacrosse. We’re a legitimate sport now that we’ve got players out here. We’re a force to reckon with in our league.”