Throughout the school year they made an impact in their respective sports.
Zaycia Guthrie did her best work during the fall. Ikia Lacy did hers during the winter. Garrett Maxwell is currently doing his this spring.
No matter the season, it has been a strong final effort and the culmination of their senior years came as the trio of Denison athletes signed their national letters of intent on Tuesday morning.
Lacy signed with Victor Valley College to play basketball, Maxwell signed with Carl Albert State College for baseball and Guthrie signed with Southeastern Oklahoma State for cross-country and track.
Guthrie led the Lady Yellow Jackets to the first team appearance at the regional meet and she finished with a time of 20:36.32 to place 56th. She was eighth in the District 10-5A meet in 22:08.61.
“It was my biggest thing. We were the best team in basketball and we wanted to do the same in cross country,” Guthrie said. “It’s always amazing when you can become the first to do something.”
Denison finished fourth in district as a team in 2017 and was one point from qualifying for regionals. Guthrie was 14th in the district race with a time of 22:13.68.
She was also part of the basketball team’s rise that included the best season in school history with a region quarterfinal appearance in 2018.
Southeastern, a Division II program, was fifth at the Great American Conference meet and was 26th at the NCAA Central Region Championship meet with a young roster — nine of the 12 runners last season were either freshmen or sophomores.
“I really wanted to run at Southeastern,” she said. “I want a team where the girls are very close and they are like that there.”
The Storm track team competed for the first time this spring and included Bells’ Danielle Doggett on the roster. Guthrie isn’t sure what events she will participate in but is excited for the challenge.
“I’ll do whatever they want me to,” she said. “I would do anything to compete at the next level — basketball or anything — and it just happened to be cross-country.”
Lacy transferred to Denison after her freshman year and was a multiple-season starter during the most successful stretch in program history. As a sophomore she averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds as the Lady Jackets returned the playoffs for the first time in 11 years with a 21-11 record and then improved to 8.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals as a junior, when Denison set a program record with a 31-5 mark, a district title and made the region quarterfinals for the first time. Lacy was a first-team all-district selection.
This past season Lacy averaged 7.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals as Denison went 21-11 and made the playoffs again, matching 2004-06 as the longest postseason streak in school history. She was a first-team all-district pick to close out her career.
“I will take the teamwork and the building together as a group the most,” Lacy said.
Victor Valley, a junior college located in California at the edge of the Mojave Desert, went 11-15 this past season and finished third in its division of the Western State Conference standings. It was a major improvement by the program over a 2-22 record and 0-10 division finish the year prior.
“My AAU coach got them interested. I was in Las Vegas for a tournament and he’d been trying to get them to see me,” Lacy said. “I looked at the college and it was beautiful. I was looking to play at the next level. I was looking forward to something like that.”
Maxwell has been contributing to the Yellow Jackets’ success for the past three seasons with the program making the playoffs each spring — the first time Denison has done that consecutively since 1995-98.
He was a second-team all-district selection at pitcher as a sophomore and then helped the Jackets have their most successful season since 1992 when Denison reached the region quarterfinals a year ago and finished with a 21-15 record. That group earned the program’s first playoff win in 18 years and won the most games in a season since 1998.
The Jackets just finished up the regular season as the third-place team in District 10-5A with a 15-15 mark and open the playoffs later this week. Maxwell has served as a starter and in relief as well as starting at first base when not on the mound.
“It’s a pretty solid team and hopefully it continues like last year,” Maxwell said. “I feel like we’re pretty confident.”
He is 2-2 with a pair of saves and a 3.73 earned run average with 45 strikeouts in 30 innings and is hitting .317 with five doubles, a home run and 14 RBI.
Carl Albert, a Division II junior college program in Poteau, Okla., is currently 17-19 overall and 3-9 in Oklahoma College Athletic Conference play. The Vikings were 20-28 last season and were 26-25-1 in 2017.
He chose Carl Albert over Cisco and Hardin-Simmons.
“They were the first ones to offer me and wanted me the most,” he said. “I liked the distance away — it’s close enough for my family — went for the visit and the team seemed like some chill guys. I always wanted to keep playing; just hoping for the opportunity.”