When the spring track and field season started, Camden girls' coach Avis Satterfield said the team's strong points were the sprints, jumps, middle distances, and relays.
That combination would make any coach optimistic. Satterfield predicted that the Panthers would be a top contender in the Olympic Conference.
Camden not only went undefeated (5-0) in the conference, but also dominated the sectional and state meets.
Camden is The Inquirer's girls' track and field team of the year in South Jersey.
Camden ran away with the South Jersey Group 2 title by scoring 131 points May 23 at Egg Harbor Township. Haddonfield was its closest rival with 83.
The Panthers then won the Group 2 state championship May 30 at South Plainfield with 72 points, almost twice as many as Cranford and Delaware Valley, who tied for second with 37. It was the largest margin of victory for any area girls' public school
At the Meet of Champions Thursday at South Plainfield, Camden showed up only in the 4x400-meter relay, in which Jamie Jones, Eleanor Clark, Terista Mickey, and Assante Johnson were clocked in 3 minutes, 50.35 seconds for third place.
Injuries altered the lineup and the outcome of that and other races, Satterfield said.
Camden capped the Group 2 state meet by winning the final event, the 4x400-meter relay, with Victoria Clark, Jones, Charnita Jackson, and Eleanor Clark in 3 minutes, 53.27 seconds.
The only other race the Panthers won was the 100 high hurdles, in which Shaquanda Gainey was clocked in 14.79.
At a meet in which a squad with one or two top athletes with several victories can win a team a title, Camden won with depth.
It was the ultimate team victory.
Victoria Clark followed Gainey in the hurdles, placing second in 15.04 for a one-two punch.
Gainey was fifth in the triple jump at 36 feet, 4 inches. Johnson was second in the 200 in 25.31 and third in the 100 in 12.48.
At Egg Harbor Township, Johnson won three titles - in the 100, 200, and 400 - and Victoria Clark won the 100 high hurdles and the 400 low hurdles.
Depth kicked in when seven Camden athletes scored points in the hurdles, middle distances, jumps, and throws. Gainey in the hurdles and 800 and Jones in the sprints and long jump were the most productive.
"Both are phenomenal athletes," Satterfield said. "They knew they had to compete in more than one event, and they were prepared.
"I expected a good season, but we had an excellent season. We won all the relays - Woodbury, West Deptford, small schools at the Penn Relays - the conference, the Camden County championships. We were way over what I expected."