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July 31, 2014, 11:36 am

Junior champion golfer Kayla Jackson holds clinic

Kayla Michele Jackson, junior champion golfer, recently hosted a free introduction to golf clinic for local kids at the Germantown Boys & Girls Club, 25 W. Penn St. Jackson, 16, went over the fundamentals of golf with the youngsters at the event. The clinic was sponsored by the Youth Athletic League of Philadelphia, founded by Rodney S. Burrell, in association with Perfect Smiles Comprehensive Dentistry.

 

Offensive tackle Tra Thomas retires as an Eagle

After being drafted out of Florida State with the 11th overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1998, Tra Thomas went on to become one of the most accomplished left tackles in team history as he earned three Pro Bowl berths and one All Pro selection in 11 seasons with the team. He also was selected as the starting left tackle on the Eagles 75th anniversary team in a vote by the fans. Thomas has retired as a Philadelphia Eagle.

During his years with the Eagles, Thomas helped anchor an offensive line that paved the way for five 1,000-yard rushing seasons for Duce Staley (1998–99, 2002) and Brian Westbrook (2006–07), including a 2007 All Pro campaign by Westbrook in which he set a team record and led the league with 2,104 total yards from scrimmage. In addition, Thomas spent the majority of his career protecting the blindside of quarterback Donovan McNabb, who went to five Pro Bowls and set every major club passing record playing with Thomas as his left tackle.

Thomas finished his career with the Eagles in 2008 ranked second in club annals in games played by an offensive lineman (166) and fourth overall, missing only eight games due to injury during that time span. In fact, he and former tackle Jon Runyan started 134 games together, the most by a tackle tandem in franchise history. In addition, Thomas started 17 career playoff games with the Eagles, including five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance. Only Brian Dawkins made more playoff starts with the team (18).

Thomas, 37, played eight games (three starts) for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009, finishing his career with 174 games played and 168 starts. The Deland, Florida, native currently resides in South Jersey with his wife, Rose, and his three sons. Thomas is also the founder and owner of an athletic training facility in Medford, N.J., called 7 Deuce Sports (www.7DeuceSports.com).

“Tra Thomas is one of the best offensive linemen to ever put on an Eagles uniform,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “He was an anchor at the left tackle position for many years and played such an integral role in our success, though he probably never got all the credit he deserved. Besides being such a great player, Tra is an even better person and someone I’ve always had a great relationship with. I’m proud of what he has done with his career after football as he has remained very successful while keeping his home in this area. We are very happy that he is retiring as an Eagle.”

 

Michaela Peterson wins 2012 Arthur Ashe Essay & Art Contest

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Michaela Peterson of Philadelphia, is one of 14 winners of the 14th annual USTA/NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest in the girls 11–12 essay category. Peterson, along with the other winners, ranging in ages from 10 to 18, was selected from over 1,100 essays submitted earlier this summer. Each winner will receive a New York City travel package from August 24 to 26.

Peterson, daughter of David Peterson and Diana Moro, has been involved in the Legacy Youth Tennis and Education NJTL Chapter for three summers and started tennis as an eight-year-old. She will receive a round-trip coach airfare to New York City for themselves and a parent/legal guardian. The trip also includes two nights at the Grand Hyatt 42nd Street, and President’s box tickets to the 2012 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess on August 25 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The weekend will wrap up with an awards luncheon on August 26, hosted by former New York City mayor and USTA board member David Dinkins, where the winners will receive an honorary plaque.

To enter the contest, children were asked to write an essay of 350 words or less, responding to a specific question about Arthur Ashe and his great accomplishments. This year’s question: “If Arthur Ashe were alive today, what do you think would give him hope?” A USTA sub-committee selected the winning essays based on their knowledge of Arthur Ashe, message clarity and writing style.

 

Contact staff writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .