Lenaami Morton already had a fantastic winter track season. Now she is looking to have an even better spring season.
Morton has enjoyed running her entire life. The Camden senior took up track in high school and quickly developed a love for hurdling.
Morton won the 55-meter hurdles at the Meet of Champions on Feb. 26 with a blazing time of 7.94 seconds, upsetting the top-seeded Amaya Chadwick of Union Catholic.
"She was determined to run well," Camden coach Avis Satterfield said. "She didn't know she would go that fast. We were all crying when she finished."
Morton's remarkable finish was the fastest time in New Jersey this year and the eighth-fastest in state history. It was also the fourth-fastest in South Jersey history.
"When they said my time, I couldn't believe it," Morton said. "I worked really hard for that."
In Meet of Champions history, Morton's was the second-fastest time. The record was set by Plainfield's Charmaine Walker, who finished in 7.86 seconds in 1997.
Chadwick, who placed second, finished in 8.07. Morton said that she knew that she had to finish at around eight seconds to win, which was the advice Satterfield gave beforehand.
"I told her that if she had a clean race, then she could do it," Satterfield said.
Morton was neck-and-neck with Chadwick when they hit the hurdles. Morton said they were almost jumping together.
"We were close," Morton said. "But I stayed with her and started to speed up at the end of the race."
Never giving up is Morton's biggest strength, according to Satterfield. That is why she has seen so much success in the past and remains determined to end her high school career with a powerful performance this spring.
Morton is one of the captains on Camden's track team, and her willpower serves as a model for her teammates.
"She has a very good spirit," Satterfield said. "Overall [she is] a great young lady and a great asset to have on the team."
There were three other South Jersey girls who placed in that hurdles race at the Meet of Champions. Atlantic City's Claudine Smith was fourth in 8.39. Bishop Eustace's Sarah Jones was fifth in 8.46, and Timber Creek's Janiyah Davis-Hines was sixth in 8.61.
Morton said her hope for the spring is to run the 100 hurdles in about 13 seconds and the 400 hurdles in about one minute.
"I am just going to keep pushing myself at practice," Morton said. "Got to continue getting mentally and physically prepared to run."
Satterfield also is confident that Morton can see further success in the spring.
"I see her doing well outdoors," Satterfield said. "Just seeing her determination indoors, I know I can expect great things from her."