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Canton track & field athletes breaking records at unprecedented rate

 Canton track & field athletes breaking records at unprecedented rate

Pictured (from left) are Canton track & field team members Mitchell Clark, Adam Dicken, Coach Jess Shough, Quincy Isaac and Nathan Levine.

Yes, records are made to be broken — just not at the rate members of the Canton High School boys track & field team are breaking school marks this spring.

As of May 7, the Chiefs had broken seven school records (some dating back to the early-1990s) in 2024 alone. Canton opened in 1972.

Canton Head Coach Jess Shough, who has seen just about everything during his 44-year high school coaching career, admitted this is a first.

“I’ve never had a team this many school records in one season,” said Shough, who was Westland John Glenn’s head track & field coach for 26 years and Canton’s for the past 11 springs (he started his coaching career at Garden City East and Cherry Hill high schools).

“We’ve never had a distance crew this dominant at Canton. We’ve always been OK in distances, but not the consistently dominant force we’ve been this year. We’ve never had jumpers like we have now, either. To have a high-jumper like Nathan Levine jump 6-10 like he did last week — or a long-jumper like Quincy Isaac go 24-3 and 3/4 is something else.”

Record collection

Junior Adam Dicken has broken two records this season in the 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs.

Dicken, whose sister, Mackenzie, is a standout two-sport athlete at Plymouth High School, started running middle distances in the eighth grade. He loved it so much, he gave up basketball and soccer to dedicate his time to running.

Quincy Isaac soars through the air during a recent competition.
Quincy Isaac soars through the air during a recent competition

He set the school’s new 800 record of 1:54.96 during a dual meet at Northville on April 26. The record had stood since 2010.

He set the 1,600 record that had stood since 1988 on April 26 at the Barnyard Invitational.

“I’m extremely proud to hold two records at Canton because I’ve put so much work into it,” Dicken said. “I’ve been consistent — I train no matter what the weather is or if I’m tired from school and academics — and I do the little things, like stretching and staying hydrated.

“But it really just comes back to consistency … not quitting and continuing to work.”

Two-mile star

Clark set Canton’s 34-year-old 3,200-meter record of 9:41.47 on April 23 in a dual meet against Howell.

“Having a good cross country season like I did and running indoors during winter helped a lot,” Clark said. “I think it helps, too, being on a team that has set so many records because it motivates you to be the next one to do it.”

Isaac, a junior, is no stranger to extraordinary track & field feats. He one the MHSAA Division 1 state title in the long jump in 2023 after setting the Canton record with a leap of 24 feet, 3 and 3/4 inches.

“The state record is 24-2, but there wasn’t a wind gauge operating when I jumped 24-3, so it didn’t count toward the state record,” Isaac said.

Isaac qualified for the D1 state meet as a freshman in the long jump.

“I finished second to last,” he said, smiling. “I think that motivated me to work harder.”

Consistency the key

Isaac goes through the same ritual before every jump.

Nathan Levine clears at the bar at 6 feet 10 inches during the Farmington Invitational PHOTO COURTESY OF LORI LOOKLISS
Nathan Levine clears at the bar at 6 feet 10 inches during the Farmington Invitational PHOTO COURTESY OF LORI LOOKLISS

“I close my eyes and try to visualize what I want my jump to look like,” he said. “There are so many little things involved. Pushing off on the right spot is important because it can cost you distance if you’re too far behind it. Landing is important, too, because the official distance is based on the body part that lands closest to the take-off line.”

Levine’s leap of 6-10 edged his own record of 6-9.25 that was set earlier this year.

An MHSAA D1 state champion in the high jump as a sophomore, Levine placed second last year.

No pressure

“Honestly, I think the lack of pressure on me this season has allowed me to perform to my potential,” said Levine, who also excelled for Canton’s football team. “Last year I was focusing a lot on college recruiting and at times I would put too much pressure on myself to perform.

“Another thing that has helped me this year is that I’m also competing in the 300 hurdles and the four-by-four relay, so I’m not just thinking about high jump.”

Levine will be attending Duke University in the fall on a track-and-field scholarship.

Given its group of individual stars, Canton has a shot to do some special things during the fast-approaching post-season — great timing considering the widely-respected Shough announced he will be stepping down as coach at the conclusion of the season.

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or

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Ed Wright

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