Shown during the “Big Day” event are, from left to right, Sherrie Dyal, LendingTree Bowl executive director; Terrie Purvis, LendingTree Bowl community liaison; Krystle Smith, Murphy High School teacher; and Sean Clark, Murphy High School principal.
Photo | Courtesy LendingTree Bowl
The LendingTree Bowl is just a month away. Two college teams will descend on Hancock Whitney Stadium for the 23rd time to display their talents on Dec. 18 at 4:45 p.m.
While the game itself only takes one day to play, the bowl’s staff is working throughout the year to leave an impact on the community. They recently joined with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation in observing the “Big Day.” This is a national day set aside for supporting and celebrating teachers.
The LendingTree Bowl announced Krystle Smith from Murphy High School would receive funding for her classroom from the CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative. Smith was awarded a $1,000 grant to select necessary resources to enrich the learning environment at her Mobile classroom. She has been an elective teacher at Murphy for sophomores, juniors and seniors since 2020.
The LendingTree Bowl will also present 10 more teachers with grants totaling $10,000 during next month’s game. It is among several community projects taking place:
- The LendingTree Bowl announced in August the creation of the LendaHand program, a small business grant program. The two winners of the $10,000 grant are the PACT Theatre Company and Mikkelsen Upholstery. The other finalists from more than 40 applications were Reney’s Honey Butter, Nova Espresso and Magnolia Classics/AR Workshop.
The PACT Theatre Company was founded in 2018 with a mission to train and educate local students and present innovative, professional-quality theater experiences for our community and surrounding areas. Mikkelsen Upholstery works with interior designers and individuals. Their primary job is re-upholstering existing furniture.
- The LendingTree Bowl hosts an art competition each year that is open to students in grades six through 12 in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Cash prizes are awarded to the winning students’ art programs, and the students will receive gifts from the LendingTree Bowl and Art Contest sponsors. The theme for 2021 is “Game Day Traditions: Friends, Food & Football.”
- Other events that the bowl game helps to sponsor during the year are the Mobile County Spelling Bee, the 1st & 10 Club meetings with C Spire and youth soccer clinics with the AFC Mobile team. For more information on these activities and the upcoming game, visit lendingtreebowl.com.
Rams wrap up cross-country season
The men’s and women’s cross-country teams for the University of Mobile (UM) wrapped up their seasons at the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) championships in Danville, Ala. In the women’s 5K division, UM finished in sixth place. The men were fourth in the 8K race.
UM was without their top runner as Isabel Valenzuela (sophomore from Satsuma) did not make the trip. Kayley Burgess (sophomore from Atmore) placed 27th overall with a time of 22:04.71. Brooke Duplantier (sophomore from Fairhope) finished 34th with a time of 23:35.86.
Following the meet, Burgess and Valenzuela were selected to the SSAC Barnes & Noble College Women’s Cross-Country All-Academic team. Burgess was also named to the SSAC Champions of Character team for women’s cross-country.
For the men, Jacob Harned finished seventh with a time of 26:49.93. The freshman is just the second Ram to record a time of better than 27 minutes in an 8K event since 2003.
Preston Webb, who has been UM’s most consistent runner this year and was named the SSAC Men’s Cross-Country Runner of the Week Oct. 19, placed 11th with a time of 27:16.19. Both Webb and Harned were selected to the SSAC Men’s Cross-Country All-Conference Team, while Harned also was selected to the SSAC Men’s Cross-Country All-Freshman team. Webb was later named to the SSAC Champions of Character team for men’s cross-country.
Tucker Reynolds, who placed 29th overall with a time of 29:12.38, was selected to the SSAC Barnes & Noble College Men’s Cross-Country All-Academic team.
USA eyes Sun Belt volleyball title in Foley
The Sun Belt Conference volleyball championship will take place Thursday through Sunday at the Foley Event Center. The competition will be the first to utilize Foley Sports Tourism’s new championship volleyball flooring and LED video board. All games will be streamed live on ESPN+.
The University of South Alabama enters as the East Division winner. They have won 20 games for the seventh time and collected the most conference wins in school history. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team today,” said head coach Jesse Ortiz. “They are awesome.”
Busy sports weekend in Mobile
The Mobile Sports Authority (MSA) is a nonprofit sports commission formed in 2008 by the Mobile County Commission. The mission is to create a positive economic and public relations impact through supporting sporting events that attract visitors to the area.
The staff has made sure the schedule is full this weekend. Here is a list of upcoming events:
- The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s (AHSAA) South Sectional Swim & Dive Meet will take place Friday and Saturday at Bishop State Community College’s Fredericka G. Evans Cultural Centre. Up to 33 high schools from the southern region of the state will compete. This meet serves as the AHSAA South Sectional Championship as student-athletes compete for a qualifying spot to advance to the Alabama State Championship at Auburn University in December.
- The third annual Gulf Coast Clash will be Friday and Saturday at the Mobile Civic Center. This year’s wrestling tournament will feature 36 teams from all across the Southeast, including multiple defending state championship teams and individuals. The event will feature an elite bracket in addition to a regular varsity bracket. For the first time, there will be a separate girl’s division.
- The 36th annual Turkey Day Tennis Classic is open to all ages 18 and above. This tournament takes place at Lyons Park and the Mobile Tennis Center. This tournament benefits the New Lyons Park Tennis Association programs, tutoring and other initiatives. According to the Mobile Sports Authority, this is the only tournament in the U.S. where the winner receives both a first-place trophy and a turkey.
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