Some sports observations from Spring

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Some springtime observations while marveling at the ever-increasing pomp and pageantry of the NFL draft. Now a prime-time weeknight event, highlights from drafts of decades gone by and even a mock draft have been broadcast for days on ESPN. Just like the NCAA tournament bracket-busters, the surprises are the best part.

As predicted, Penn State’s Blue-White football weekend once again brought out record crowds for the Nittany Lions’ spring sports.

Perhaps most notably, a program-best crowd of more than 3,200 fans watched the men’s lacrosse team clinch a spot in the Big Ten Tournament Sunday evening.

The Lions dominated Rutgers, 13-7, to win the Friendship Cup, an appropriate and exciting way to honor the team’s ten seniors. But the program also has good reason to be excited for the future: Mac O’Keefe turned in his eighth hat trick of the season, and may break the freshman scoring record before the year is over.

NASCAR’s standard-bearer is back atop the leaderboard.

Seven-time Cup Champion Jimmy Johnson took his second straight checkered flag in a rain-delayed race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Johnson took the Monday afternoon lead with 82 laps to go and never looked back. It’s the 82nd win of his career; the strong start makes his pursuit of a record breaking eighth championship seem almost inevitable, if not this season then in the near future.

Spring has sprung, and with it bicycle season. Drive the roads of central Pennsylvania and you’ll see more and more cyclists enjoying the wonderful rides and scenery that our region has to offer.

Cycling is a wonderful life-long sport, with great health benefits. But cyclists often face hostility from drivers of motor vehicles. It’s important to remember that bicycles, by law, have the right to safely share the road.

Congratulations to Shawnee State Park, recently named the Pennsylvania Park and Forest Foundation’s Park of the Year.

Selected from more than 120 state parks and conservation areas in the commonwealth, Shawnee, located along the Lincoln Highway in Schellsburg, offers a myriad of outdoor recreation: fishing, boating, camping, hiking, disc golf and more.

It has become a favorite venue for charity walks and runs, helping to raise thousands of dollars for regional non-profit organizations.

The Friends of Shawnee work with park leaders to add to the traditional park offerings, including a first-day hike, annual fireworks on the lake, and art in the park art exhibit and related activities.

The innovative leadership of manager Dorothy Krupa, combined with cooperation from the Friends group, local businesses and the community has written a story of success at Shawnee, one that is rightfully being recognized throughout the commonwealth.

We are fortunate to live in a state and region that so values our parks; we just have to remember to appreciate and enjoy them.

Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at kellie@bedfordcountychamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.

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