Alaska sports notebook: East’s Deuce Zimmerman to join Thunderbirds teammate in college; Anchorage’s Brody Jessee selected in the 2022 MLB Draft

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While many of his friends and fellow recently graduated student-athletes had already committed to colleges and were making preparations for the next chapter of their lives, East’s Deuce Zimmerman had to wait a little longer to find a place to play football at the next level.

Despite the constant badgering and questioning by those close to him, Zimmerman remained patient.

His patience finally paid off last week when he announced he will be headed to play for the Western New Mexico Mustangs.

There he will be joining his longtime friend and East teammate Kyler Johnson, who announced his commitment the week prior.

“I had some other (Division II schools) hit me up and I just waited and waited,” Zimmerman said. “Kyler got an offer and then hit the coaches up and they got back to me and now I’m offered.”

“Of course I had a little something to do with it,” Johnson said.

The two former Thunderbirds helped build their high school program into one of the best in the entire state and they plan on helping their college program do the same in the Lone Star Conference.

“I just want to do my best to help the program become a better program and I’m all in for that,” Zimmerman said.

Neither player wanted to go to a school where they didn’t know anybody and they both are relieved that they’ll be embarking on this journey together.

“It’s going to be good going down there with one of my best friends from high school, playing the sport we love, and doing whatever we can to win,” Johnson said.

In addition to being best friends and teammates, the two have decided to be roommates in college as well and will be leaving in the next two weeks to move in.

“I’m ready for the experience but going to college with my best friend that I have played with is even better,” Zimmerman said.

Alaskan Brody Jessee drafted in the 10th round of 2022 MLB Draft

Anchorage native and former South Anchorage High standout Brody Jessee became the latest player from Alaska to get drafted into Major League Baseball when he was taken by the Cincinnati Reds at No. 303 overall out of Gonzaga University.

Jessee being taken by the Reds brings total number of Alaskans to ever get drafted to 38. The 21-year-old right handed pitcher was selected following a sophomore season where he made 18 appearances and recorded a 4.58 ERA in 35.1 innings with 48 strikeouts to 19 walks on a Bulldogs team that went 37-19 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Sumolong continues dominance in state golf competitions

The golf season is in full swing with some of the state’s major tournaments being decided this month. The Alaska State Match Play was played July 7-10 at Moose Run Golf Course. There were 89 total competitors in the three divisions.

Anchorage’s Richard Teders won the men’s division followed by Adam Baxter. In the women’s division, Keira Deland won with Abigail Ante earning runner-up honors.

In the senior division, Anchorage’s Benjamin Sumulong and Rick Boyles were the top two performers.

A week later, multi-time senior champ Sumolong added another title to his name, taking the overall gross win at the State Senior Championship at Settlers Bay Golf Course in Wasilla. He fired a 66 in the final round to cruise to a win outdistancing runner-up Mark Adams.

On the women’s side, Toyoko Hawkins of Anchorage placed first and Teresa Fisher placed second in the overall gross. Mindy Stefanski and Jeff Ranf won the super senior divisions in the women’s and men’s respectively. Net winners in the tournament included Tonnette Jackson (women’s senior), Patrick Egger (men’s senior), Virgie Thompson (women’s super senior) and Colin Maynard (men’s super senior).

Jahn, Baxter take half marathon wins

Corbyn Jahn and Michelle Baxter earned half marathon victories at the Skinny Raven Half Marathon last weekend. Anchorage’s Jahn won the men’s division of one hour, 15 minutes, 44 seconds, earning the victory by more than two minutes.

Baxter, also of Anchorage, took the women’s division with a time of 1:26.58, outdistancing runner-up Samantha Simpson of Anchorage by more than five minutes.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Settlers Bay Golf Course is located in Wasilla, not Palmer.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.