Nicholas MacPhee, of Walpole, broke a world record at the Old Orchard Beach Scottish Highland Games on June 5. MacPhee won all events at the games, including setting a world record in the weight over bar event.
With the wins, MacPhee received an invitation to compete at the National Scottish Games, to be held in Tulsa, Okla. in September.
There were two weight divisions at the Scottish Highland Games at Old Orchard Beach: under 200 pounds and over 200 pounds. MacPhee weighed in at 199.8 pounds, so competed in the lightweight division.
In the weight over bar event, which is sometimes known as weight for height, competitors throw a 42-pound metal ball attached to a ring handle. A competitor stands with their back to the bar, and holding the ring, swings the ball between their legs, then up over their head and over the bar.
The rest of the field was eliminated in the weight over bar event at 16’6”. The bar is customarily raised in one-foot increments, but after the rest of the competitors were out, MacPhee could choose how high to set the bar. The world record, set by Peter Doyle in 1974, was 19’1” and MacPhee chose to raise the bar to 19’4”. His throw cleared the bar for a new world record.
There were nine events at the Old Orchard Beach games, and MacPhee won all nine. He is ranked No. 1 in the world in the lightweight division by the North American Scottish Highland Games Association.
Other events MacPhee won include the caber toss, stone throw, Braemar, weight for distance, the hammer throw, and sheaf toss.
In the caber toss, an athlete flips a 16-20-foot tree that weighs 70-100 pounds end to end. In the stone throw event, a 16-pound river stone is thrown similar to a shot put. In the Braemar event, a 22-pound stone is thrown without moving the feet. In the weight for distance events, 28- and 42-pound weights attached to an 18-inch ring handle are thrown with a spinning technique. The hammer throw is similar to an Olympic hammer throw. In the sheaf toss, a 16-pound burlap sack is filled with twine and thrown with a pitch fork for maximum height.
A former power lifter, MacPhee was ranked fifth in the world and set numerous state records.
“I hung up my belt and focused all my energy on the Highland Games,” MacPhee said.
With a four-year-old daughter and eight-month-old son, MacPhee made the switch because the Scottish Highland Games are “family friendly” with the festival that runs in conjunction with the games.
“You learn about Scottish food and the history” of the event, MacPhee said.
This was MacPhee’s sixth competition at the Old Orchard Beach games, and the sixth year the games were held there. He estimates in the six years he has competed, he has over 20 wins. The games were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MacPhee’s next competition is at Thomas Point Beach in August.
“I will be looking to push a few more world records there,” MacPhee said.