Two years ago, South River's Kim Fullmer donated her time distributing awards at the National Scholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Naval Academy.
This weekend, Fullmer and six other countians hope to be on the receiving end.
Seven of the county's top indoor track and field athletes will depart this afternoon for the two-day national meet in the Carrier Domeat Syracuse University in upstate New York.
Five members of Meade's county and region champion squad will make the trip, joined by Fullmer and North County's Adrienne McCray. The Mustangs' contingent features pole-vaulting twins Eric and Jeff Miller, Derrick Barr, Ray Burleson and Anthony Lowe.
While all seven of the athletes will focuson achieving their personal goals, they seem to share similar respect for the competition that awaits them.
"It's going to be really tough," said Fullmer, state champion in the 55-meter hurdles. "When I was at the nationals (in Annapolis) I saw some really good people from around here getting blown away."
Kim's father and coach, Craig Fullmer, agreed.
"The competition at the nationals is top shelf," he said. "The competition is very tough and very deep. There probably won't be more than two meters separating first and sixth place."
Barr, who captured first in county and second in the states in the high jump, has cleared 6-6 this season and has set his sights on 6-8 forthe nationals.
While Barr recognizes even a PR (personal record) is no guarantee for a medal, he is also aware that anything can happen.
"I know there are going to be some guys there jumping seven feet, but I'm just going to do the best I can and hope for the best," said Barr, a 5-foot-10 junior. "Everybody wants to win. Somebody could have a bad day, and I could have a good day. You never know."
Barr's coach, Jay Cuthbert, has been to enough national meets to know notto fill his athletes with any illusions of grandeur. Nevertheless, the veteran coach views the experience as nothing but positive.
"It's a chance for the kids to see just how good the rest of the countryis in high school competition," said Cuthbert, who coached Derrick Love to two national titles in 1989.
McCray, who captured county, region and state titles in the 500-meter run, will compete with and against Fullmer in the girls pentathlon, a multi-event competition thatincludes the 55-meter high hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put and 800-meter run.
North County coach Ed Harte believes McCray's exposure to a variety of events will make her more marketable to college coaches and scouts.
"When Adrienne first came here we knew she could sprint, but she was talented in other events so we tried to expose her to as many (events) as possible," said Harte. "It takes a multitalented athlete to compete in multi-events, and Adrienne has what it takes."
Seniors Burleson and Lowe will have one final chance to see if they have what it takes, as they compete in the 800 run and the boys pentathlon, respectively.
The 6-foot-3, 168-pound Burleson,who took first in the county and region and sixth in the states, said he is not preoccupied with who is going to be there but rather is focusing on one goal -- breaking two minutes in the 800 run.