MAYVILLE - With his friends and family cheering him on, Nick Kahanic set two personal records at the Jamestown Regional Celtic Festival at Lakeside Park on Saturday.
The Falconer native tossed the heavy hammer 93 feet, 9 inches, which is 16 inches better than his previous best, but it was in the sheaf where his efforts received the wildest response.
The ninth, and final event, on a beautiful day, Kahanic shrugged off a poor start, took some advice from the world record holder in attendance and recorded a 35-foot heave, one foot more than his previous mark.
Falconer resident Nick Kahanic competes in the 56-pound weight for distance at the Jamestown Regional Celtic Festival at Lakeside Park in Mayville on Saturday. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
''He came up to me and said, 'You're thinking too much. Just grip it and rip it. Have fun with it,''' Kahanic said. ''The words kind of sank in.''
And he did as he was told.
''I looked at the crowd (before his final attempt) and said, 'Give me some noise,' and they started going nuts,'' Kahanic said. ''It was like I scored the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. There was no quieting them down. They went nuts.''
The performance capped a day in which Kahanic posed for numerous photographs, signed a bunch of autographs and received dozens of hugs. It's been that kind of summer for the 2004 Falconer Central School graduate, who is the No. 1-ranked Highland Games amateur in the world. Last week, he set a world record in the 16-pound stone throw. On Friday he leaves for the U.S. National Championships in California.
''As the No. 1 seed, I want to go out there and make someone beat me,'' he said. ''I want to throw well. I don't have to throw my best, but I have to throw consistently high and not make mistakes. ... My goal is to have ice in my veins.''
A little enthusiasm - like what he demonstrated yesterday - won't hurt either.