Photo | courtesy of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Eagle Cottages at Gulf State Park are the newest members of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World program. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) said the lodgings are only the seventh in the United States to be recognized, while only 55 lodges are in the program worldwide.
“I could not be more excited about Eagle Cottages becoming part of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World collection,” said ADCNR Commissioner Chris Blankenship, a University of South Alabama graduate whose family moved to Mobile when he was 3 years old.
“This is an affirmation of Gulf State Park, the Department of Conservation and the state of Alabama. Teaming with National Geographic will help highlight the natural resources, culture and heritage of our state and it will benefit the people of South Alabama,” he said.
According to the ADCNR, National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World is a collection of dwellings that invite guests to discover some of the most treasured places on the planet while helping to protect those places for future generations. Each property is hand-selected and must share a strong commitment to sustainable practices and to protecting natural and cultural heritage. The guest experience at each lodge must be intimate and exceptional while inspiring guests to connect with the destination in a meaningful way and also to play a part in safeguarding it for future generations.
“National Geographic is a way to further expose all that we have to offer in Alabama including the Mobile–Tensaw River Delta, the Red Hills Salamander habitat, the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and many other unique treasures,” Blankenship said. “Sustainable tourism is the fastest-growing segment of tourism and will be a game changer for our state.”
The Eagle Cottages are a collection of 11 lodges contributing to ADCNR’s commitment to define Gulf State Park as an international benchmark of environmental and economic sustainability, demonstrating best practices for outdoor education, recreation and hospitable accommodations. To learn more or to book a cottage, visit eaglecottagesatgsp.com.
Youth football action
Many people may think the start of football season is still weeks away. However, those fans needing a shot of gridiron action can enjoy some youth teams playing this weekend.
Starting on Friday at 6 p.m. will be the Alabama Gridiron Classic Youth Football Tournament. Presented by the Mobile Sports Authority, this “Battle of the Gulf Coast” will take place at Mobile’s Herndon Sage Park through Sunday night.
According to organizers, this event is part of the largest national youth pre-season tournament series in the United States. Mobile is the first stop, with similar tournaments to take place in Georgia, Virginia and Louisiana during August.
In partnership with the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame, more than 40 teams are anticipated to be in Mobile. Every team must dress a minimum of 11 players in accordance with National Football Federation rules.
There are numerous age divisions, starting with Under-5 through Under-12. Different sizes of footballs will be used depending on the age bracket.
According to organizers, this is a pool-play tournament with a winner-only bracket. Once a team loses twice in its pool or by tie-breaker, it is out of the competition. Semifinals and the championship are a single-elimination game.
The Gridiron Classic Series is a subsidiary of Elite Football Events. For additional information, visit elitefootballevents.com/alabama.
* Wade Duke, a senior on the University of Mobile men’s golf team, has been named third-team all-American by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). A native of Creola, Duke finished the season with a stroke average of 73.25 over 24 rounds, ranking him 28th in the country among NAIA competition. This season, he was also named Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) all-conference, SSAC all-Academic and as a Musco Lighting Champion of Character. Majoring in business administration with a concentration in management, Duke has a 3.89 grade point average.
* University of South Alabama senior Sean Collins has been recognized as a member of the 2018-2019 Google Cloud Academic All-America Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country Team, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The Mobile native claimed third-team honors and was one of only 45 NCAA Division I student-athletes to receive the award. Collins received a biology degree in May, finishing the program with a 3.65 GPA. He won six Sun Belt Conference (SBC) pole vault championships in seven attempts, including a four-year sweep of the outdoor titles. He received all-America recognition three times and finished second in the nation during the 2016 indoor season.
* University of South Alabama’s Matt Luther has been named the SBC Women’s Golf Coach of the Year. Sophomores Siti Shaari and Julie Hovland were recognized as first- and second-team all-Sun Belt honorees, respectively. Luther led the Jaguars to a Sun Belt title and the first NCAA regional appearance in program history in his fourth year as head coach. Shaari, the 2018 SBC Freshman of the Year, finished second in the conference head-to-head standings with a 74.14 scoring average. Hovland earned all-conference recognition for the first time in her career, finishing seventh in the head-to-head rankings with a 74.62 scoring average.
* Rasmus Karlsson and Yannick Schütz, juniors on the University of South Alabama men’s golf team, were third-team on the all-SBC roster. Karlsson ranked second on the team with a 72.88 stroke average and three top-20 finishes during the 2018-2019 campaign, posting a score of par or better on nine occasions. Schütz paced the squad for the second year in a row in scoring average (72.40), top-20 performances (five) and rounds at or under par (14) as he posted the low total on the team at four of the first five tournaments of the season.
* University of Mobile’s Josie Headrick was honored at the SSAC Women’s Golf Banquet. The first award was based on Headrick’s performance in the classroom as she was named to the SSAC All-Academic Team. She was also named to the Musco Lighting Champions of Character Team for her commitment to sportsmanship and display of character throughout this season.
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