PICKERING — You can't blame Cierra Mozer for being all smiles.

PICKERING — You can’t blame Cierra Mozer for being all smiles.

After suffering through a crippling knee injury and battling through a painful rehabilitation process, she was able to return to the lacrosse field and bring home a state championship with Air Academy High School earlier this year.

Recently, Mozer signed a national letter of intent to play collegiate lacrosse at Meredith College, an NCAA Division III school located in Raleigh, N.C.

“We are very, very proud of Cierra and what she has accomplished,” said Maj. Don Mozer, Cierra’s father. “Meredith is a very good school and we were very comfortable with the campus. Plus, she will be nearer to some of our family.”

Mozer, who was born in North Carolina, picked up the game of lacrosse in fifth grade, when her dad was stationed in New York at West Point, where he served as an instructor at the school.

A few years later, after a stop in Kansas, Mozer found herself at Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs, Colo. The school is located on the campus of the Air Force Academy and Mozer and her family lived on the Air Force base as her father was stationed at Fort Carson.

As a freshman, Mozer was a member of the Air Academy junior varsity team and watched the varsity squad win the Class 5A state championship, which whet her appetite even more.

As a sophomore, Mozer and her Air Academy teammates fell in the state quarterfinals to Cherry Creek out of Denver, which went on to win the state title.

“They were our biggest rivals,” Mozer said. “In fact, the rivalry between Air Academy and Cherry Creek is pretty intense.”

After falling in the quarterfinals, Mozer remained on the field, joining her club team, Denver Summit, for action during the summer.

It was during one of the practices in the summer of 2013 where Mozer’s athletic career suffered a major hit.

During a typical drill, Mozer and a teammate were hustling for the ball when they collided. Her teammate suffered a broken nose in the collision, but Mozer suffered what she described as a completely “blown out knee.”

“I tore everything in my knee,” Mozer said. “I tore the ACL, the MCL, the PCL and the meniscus. I had surgery in August and I didn’t know if I would be back in time for the season.”

But Mozer battled through a rigorous rehab process and was back on the field practicing straight line drills in February of this year.

By March, she was playing in games. By April, she was fully released and making a difference for her team on the defensive side of the field.

In early May, Mozer and her Air Academy teammates had reached the Class 5A Colorado High School Athletic Association lacrosse finals, where they faced Cherry Creek.

By the end of the day, Mozer and her teammates were state champions, having dispatched of their bitter rivals. And Mozer couldn’t help but let her emotions flow.

“I cried like a baby. It was our chance and we won it,” she said. “And I didn’t want to let my teammates down, so I put my head to the ground and came back.”

As a result of her success, Mozer was named first-team all-conference, along with being named second-team all-state.

During this past summer, her father received orders to move to Fort Polk and she found herself in a new school with no lacrosse. However, she has discovered some teams in the Shreveport-Bossier area.

Now that Mozer has signed to play collegiately, she has set her sights high.

“I would like to start and win a conference championship,” she said, noting that Meredith College is relatively new to Division III, but made the postseason. “I plan on majoring in history where I hope to acquire certification to teach in high school.”

Mozer, who carries a 3.4 grade-point average and posted a 22 on her ACT, is the daughter of Maj. Don Mozer and Likuana Mozer. She has two siblings, a sister in seventh grade named Camille and a brother named Donovan, who is in the third grade.