Ex-UB football player hopes he set world box jump record

Personal trainer Chris Spell, left, and architect Herb Guenther authenticate one of the two jumps Spell made April 19 at Catalyst Fitness in Cheektowaga in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record box jump of attempt of 63.6 inches. He cleared 64 inches on each of the jumps. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Chris Spell is on a dual track toward two lofty goals.

Play football in the NFL.

Set the world record for the highest standing jump.

Spell will try out next weekend for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, a step that could bring him closer to his biggest goal.

He’s much closer to a Guinness World Record listing.

“I wanted to time the tryout with this box jump record, to kind of springboard my career,” said Spell, a former University at Buffalo football player who has spent the last several months training intensively for both.

Last weekend, the 23-year-old Westchester County native twice leaped more than 64 inches high, atop a collection of mats stacked in the Turf Room at Catalyst Fitness in Cheektowaga.

The world record is 63.6 inches, set in May 2016 by Evan Ungar in Oakville, Ont.

Spell arranged to have both of his jumps videotaped, and observed by three sworn witnesses: a member of the Air Force and two police officers. Clarence architect Herb Guenther measured and confirmed each of the heights.

That Guinness-sanctioned arrangement allowed him to save several thousand dollars it would have cost to bring in world record company representatives to handle those duties, said Spell, who works in a Buffalo youth soccer program.

He expects to hear from Guinness this week if either of his two successful jumps is official.

One measured 64.5 inches; the other, 64.625 inches — nearly 5 feet, 4 inches high.

A crowd gathered behind cones to watch both attempts, and erupted in cheers after Spell stuck the landing on each one.

“He’s in here almost every day,” Catalyst branch manager Antoinette Todaro said. “He’s in good shape.”

It was the second stab the nearly 5-foot-10 Spell took at the record. Several weeks ago, Guinness officials told him the mats in an earlier attempt had too much give, and suggested he better stabilize them.

Spell began box jumping in earnest last August, when he discovered he could do it well.

“People were impressed by what I was doing in the gym,” he said, “and I wondered what the record was. I decided to look on Guinness World Record and it was 63.6 inches. I was getting 61 inches comfortably back then, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, that’s pretty close. It would be really cool to say I’m the best in the world at something.’ So I started training.”

Cleaner eating — adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to a protein-rich diet — and six-day-a-week workouts have steeled him in his efforts. Spell focuses on legs twice a week, once doing squats, deadlifts and other strengthening exercises, the other drop-down jumps and box jumping drills.

Spell played football at Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., then at Hartwick College in Oneonta, before transferring to UB and walking onto the Division 1 football program. The wide receiver — who never caught a pass in a game but was a regular on special teams — played on scholarship his last semester before graduating in late 2017 with a bachelor’s in sociology.

During his school pro day in 2018, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds and broad jumped 10 feet, 10 inches.

Spell credited UB football coach Lance Leipold and strength and conditioning coach Ryan Cidzik for inspiring him to get into the physical condition he hopes will give him a shot at both of his goals.

“All of my training from University of Buffalo really helped even outside of the weight room,” he said.

If pro football doesn’t work out, he and his high school sweetheart, Anna Kelley, a hospitality major at SUNY Buffalo State, plan to return to Westchester County after she graduates next year. Spell, now a certified personal trainer, looks to teach other young athletes how to improve their physical performance.

“I’m super excited about this record,” he said, “but football is my true love, and that’s where my training and my head and all my effort is going to go to after I officially get this.”

He also may look to set other world records. The most obvious? The running vertical jump, which now stands at 73 inches.


Warm reviews for Rowan Atkinson as he reprises Maigret role

Warm reviews for Rowan Atkinson as he reprises Maigret role

Rowan Atkinson was so believable in Maigret that fans didn’t even expect him to say ‘Wibble’.

Rowan Atkinson was so convincing in crime drama Maigret that viewers said they were able to temporarily put aside his comic personae.

The Mr Bean and Blackadder star, 62, received mixed reviews for his debut as French detective Jules Maigret last year, with some critics questioning his casting as the pipe-smoking detective.

Rowan Atkinson as Maigret (Photographer: Colin Hutton)
Rowan Atkinson as Maigret (Photographer: Colin Hutton)

But his return to the character in new film Night At The Crossroads won praise from fans who said he was so good that they stopped expecting him to be his famous comedy alter egos.


Claire Collins @Mecmcollins

Rowan Atkinson is such a great actor, I forget he was Mr. Bean unlike some other people lol #maigret

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Chris Kirkbride @chrisklaw

Outstanding performance by Rowan Atkinson in #Maigret. So good, I never expect him to say, ‘wibble’.

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Viewers warmed to Rowan’s straight portrayal of Maigret in the film, which was set in 1950s Paris and saw the detective investigating after the body of a diamond merchant was discovered in a car.


Jeremy Bateman @jembateman

Rowan Atkinson very convincing on @itv as #Maigret

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Helen Killoran @HelenKilloran

I absolutely love watching #Maigret. It really shows Rowan Atkinson at his best.

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Helen Bryant @TwigsTrillycake

Another cracking episode of #Maigret so far… Rowan Atkinson is fabulous in this role. Brilliant casting all round.

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Ron Delnevo @RonCashman

#RowanAtkinson : superb as #Maigret. Quite wonderful adaptation. A triumph in every way.

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Rowan appeared in two Maigret films last year, Maigret Sets A Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man.

Night At The Crossroads will be followed by another film in the series, Maigret In Montmartre, later this year.

The star recently said viewers should come to their own conclusion about Maigret’s new outings.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” said the actor and comedian.

“All I would ask is that people watch them and make their own mind up. I think they’ve got a lot of appealing qualities.”


Lewis Hamilton believes he can beat Sebastian Vettel to world title

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton says his original strategy during the race was to stop on lap 19

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton says he is confident he can beat Sebastian Vettel to the world title this year despite defeat at the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton finished second to the German in the season opener in Melbourne after losing the lead following pressure from the Ferrari driver’s superior pace.

Hamilton said: “It is going to be a close race. I truly believe we can beat them. It’s great to see Ferrari there.

“It’s good we had this close battle. I’m looking forward to the next.”

  • Hard-to-manage Hamilton ready to win title
  • Ferrari are favourites – Hamilton

Hamilton led from pole position but struggled for pace in the opening laps and after an early pit stop was held up by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, allowing Vettel to get ahead.

Hamilton said: “I wouldn’t say I’m happy. But all things in perspective. To see where we have come from, with massive rule changes and to come here and be battling so close for a win and missing out marginally, there are a lot of things to be proud of.

“We could have won the race but I gave it everything I could and you can’t do more. Take the strength of the weekend.”

Vettel takes the lead
The race’s pivotal moment

Vettel said of his title chances: “There is a long, long way ahead. We have a lot to prove still but for now we are just happy.

“It is March now. I know people start to get excited but it is our job to work and I am much happier if we are working now and not talking.”

Hamilton said he was looking forward to a close battle with Vettel throughout the year.

Hamilton congratulates Vettel
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel – New rivals?

“This year we have the best drivers at the front,” said Hamilton. “Of course it would be great to have Fernando [Alonso of McLaren] up there but it doesn’t look like it is going to happen any time soon.

“But Sebastian has four titles and he will continue for many years to come. I am really grateful to have that fight with him. It’s great.”

Hamilton defended Mercedes’ decision to bring him in for a pit stop earlier than Vettel.

“My strategy was to stop on lap 19 and I think I stopped on lap 18. I had nothing left in my tyres.

“I was catching some back markers and the car started to slide around a lot and the gap was reducing behind me and I was like, ‘Guys I have to come in now or I’m probably going to get overtaken on track.’

“I pitted not knowing the gap between the other cars. I came out behind some other cars which I couldn’t get by. I said to the team I had to come in because the tyres were dead.”


Utah Web Designer at Utah Sites Give Back to the Community He Grew Up In

Utah Sites is a search engine optimization and web design company in Utah whose owners have roots in the Beehive State. Their office is a mix of modern styling with vibrant splashes of orange color – the company’s calling card. A “splash” is what the company is making outside of the office in their local community, and the web design industry. Utah Sites’ transparent communication and efforts to give back to the community has resulted in a whirlwind of exposure for a recent good deed.

Damon Burton, President of Utah Sites web design company, was looking for ways to give back to the community. Giving a donation to benefit the kids in the same school district was Burton’s way of giving back to the community that nurtured him.

Having grown up in the community benefiting from free or reduced programs throughout his K-12 school years, Burton was familiar with the value of school lunch programs. That familiarity is what led the business owner to donate approximately $2,000 towards paying off all delinquent lunch balances at all seventeen Title I schools in Davis County; a donation that helped nearly 300 families.

The positive message has spread throughout the country as different media outlets featured the donation. Coverage included local media outlets:

  • Fox 13
  • Standard-Examiner
  • KSL
  • KUTV

Some of the local stories were syndicated and brought the donation to the national spotlight, including the AP, WashingtonPost.com and more.

“I can’t even begin to imagine the impact you just made on those kids’ and families lives. I had no idea doing something like this was even possible,” messaged a Chicago resident to Burton.

Burton remarks on such comments. “The media exposure of this donation is an eye-opener for me and many more people. It has been a beautiful thing to witness what this donation has inspired in others. I’ve had people message me from a dozen different states and even internationally saying that the donation has opened their minds to new possibilities in how they can help others.”

Burton and Utah Sites plan on continuing to give back to the community. To learn more about the donation or for other ways to help Utah communities, visit UtahSites.com.

About Utah Sites

Utah Sites web design company in Layton, Utah. This group of Davis County website designers offers affordable, effective website development with a refreshingly personal approach to communicating with their web design customers.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3228494#ixzz4Y53PtCZT