Claudine Smith crowned hurdles champion at the girls indoor track Meet of Champions.

Atlantic City senior Claudine Smith learned a valuable lesson at this time last year, and it paid dividends at the NJSIAA girls indoor track Meet of Champions on Sunday at the Bennett Center in Toms River.

“I know what it means to be the favorite and not to be the favorite,” Smith said. “Last year at Easterns I was not the favorite in Lane 2 and won, and my time made me the favorite for the M of C and I didn’t win. That’s life in track and field. All you can do is be humble and do what you can do when it comes to racing.”

Smith put that philosophy to work in the 55-meter hurdles, where she entered as the favorite and sealed the deal with career-best, winning time of 8.03.