AMHERST - When Nick Kahanic was a sophomore at Falconer Central School, he attended a camp for athletes who specialized in the shot and discus.
The camp was run, in part, by former U.S. Olympian Brian Oldfield.
"It kind of changed my career,'' said Kahanic, who went on to become an all-state performer in high school and an All-American at Roberts Wesleyan College. "I don't think he knew me (then), but I guess he'll know me now.''
Nick Kahanic celebrates after setting an open stone world record at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village Celtic Festival.
Competing at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village Celtic Festival on Saturday, Kahanic, an amateur, set the world record in the open stone, registering an astonishing throw of 63 feet, 3.75 inches, which shattered Oldfield's professional record of 63-2, which was set 39 years ago.
That's no typo.
"I'll tell you what,'' Kahanic said Sunday night, "I was in the zone.''
It's been that kind of year for the 27-year-old.
Three weeks after claiming the North American Amateur Championship in Enumclaw, Wash., Kahanic, the top-ranked Scottish Highland Games amateur in the United States and Canada, did nothing to dispute that lofty position.
After tosses of 60-6, 60-10 and 61-1, Kahanic was granted a fourth throw because he was the winner of that event.
"A couple buddies were giving me a pep talk,'' he said. "I went out on my own for 30 seconds to get my mind right and I did my approach and hit the front like you wouldn't believe. As soon as I threw it, I knew it was something special.
"I was in shock where it landed.''
By the way, Kahanic, who will compete in the national championships in California in two weeks and the world championships in Minnesota during Labor Day weekend, set four personal records in his nine events on Saturday. And, when the competition was over, he was mobbed by well-wishers, who were requesting autographs and snapping photos.
"When it comes to being on the field - whether in California, Seattle, Ohio or Florida - and someone is cheering for you, it makes everything worth it,'' Kahanic said.
Armed with his world record, Kahanic can look ahead to this Saturday when he hopes to defend his title at the Jamestown Regional Celtic Festival at Lakeside Park in Mayville.
"I told you a month ago that it would be pretty special to break the world record (in Chautauqua County), because all the people who support me would be there," Kahanic said. "It would have been storybook.''
Ranked first in the open stone to start the Amherst competition, he learned that two throwers broke 60 feet at the open stone world championships, which were held in Scotland earlier in the day.
"I went from first in the world to third in the world for about three hours,'' Kahanic said with a laugh.
Not too long after that, he began receiving text messages congratulating him on shattering Oldfield's professional mark.
"I spent the day glued to my phone keeping up with everybody,'' Kahanic said.
One text came from a buddy in Scotland.
"He was making jokes about the 'stones heard 'round the world,''' Kahanic said.
No word yet on whether Oldfield has Kahanic's number. If not, here's guessing it won't be long before he does.