When Adrienne McCray and Jason Fullmer embarked on the 1992 spring track season, each was looking to build a reputation.
McCray, a North County senior hurdler, already was well-known in Anne Arundel County, but she was hoping the favorable reviews also would be heard by college recruiters.
Fullmer, a junior hurdler at South River, wasn't unknown in the county, but it was his sister, Kim, who was the celebrated athlete.
Now the state champions are both finally getting the attention they deserve.
"I wanted to get into a good school and I knew, in order to do so, I had to have a big senior year," said McCray, the Anne Arundel County Sun's Female Track Athlete of the Year. "I'm very happy with the way things turned out. I couldn't ask for anything better."
Things also couldn't have worked out much better for Jason Fullmer, the Anne Arundel County Sun's Male Track Athlete of the Year. The 6-foot-5, 170-pounder captured state titles in both the 110-meter high hurdles (14.4) and the 300 intermediate hurdles (38.8).
"A lot of people knew me as Kim's little brother, and now I'm making a name for myself," said Fullmer, who was unbeaten in the high hurdles and recorded a personal best 14.2 at the county meet. "Everyone knew how great of a hurdler my sister [now a freshman at Doane College in Crete, Neb.] was, and now, here her little brother comes along."
Guiding Kim's "little brother" this season was his father and coach, Craig Fullmer, who took over the Seahawks track and field program after former coach Mike Ballard transferred to Queen Anne's High.
While Coach Fullmer attributes the bulk of his son's success to hard work in the off-season, he believes it was his son's desire to establish his own identity that impelled him to victory.
"He wanted to establish himself as an individual real bad," said the coach. "Having a sister like Kim was heavy load to carry. It was tough being the bridesmaid all the time."
In just its second year competing at the 4A level, North County has already established itself as a 4A squad to be reckoned with. Knights coach Ed Harte, this year's selection as Track Coach of the Year, has been the brains of an operation that produced two state champions and six county title-holders.
"I've always worried about the individual," said Harte, who has seen his team grow from a group of 10 at now-defunct Andover, to nearly 50 at North County. "Working with a small group has helped me as a coach. With a small school you have to worry about the individual, and I just transferred that philosophy to the big school.
"I'll take the individual over the team any day. If you get one great one, you can do what one school is doing with five or six kids."
The Knights profited heavily at the states from three individuals. McCray and sprinters Anthony Walker and Sam Lomax accounted for 46 points, with McCray topping the list with 20.
"The individual is what counts when you get to states," said Harte, whose boys finished a respectable 10th at states. His girls tied for eighth. "We knew we had quality all season long and we knew the points would hold up in state meet."
McCray's display at the state meet in Westminster capped a brilliant high school career and her state-record time of 42.9 in the 300 intermediate hurdles earned her a No. 4 national ranking by Track and Field News. She was also invited to two postseason meets: the Golden West Invitational, June 11-13 in Sacramento, Calif., and the Keebler International Prep Championships, June 20 in Elmhurst, Ill.
"I was surprised with my 300 hurdle time," said McCray, a two-time state champion in the 300 who has narrowed her college choices to George Mason, Seton Hall and Temple. "I was surprised when I first hit 43, but when I hit 42, I was shocked."
No one was more surprised by Jason Fullmer's performance than Jason Fullmer.
Fullmer started his domination of the 110 hurdles at the county meet where he edged Old Mill's Rocky McMillan by three-tenths of a second. McMillan got even in the 300 hurdles, but Fullmer would not lose again in either event.
"I shocked a lot of people this year, including myself," he said. "My freshman year I was running mid-16s [in the 110 hurdles] and last year my best was 15.2. I was thinking, 'Hey, if I can get to the high-14s by the end of this year, and to the low-14s by my senior year, I may have a shot at a state title.' "
All-County Track and Field Team
Name... ... ... School... ... ... Event... ... ... County Finish
Jason Fullmer.. South River... .. 110 hurdles... ... ... .. 14.2
Anthony Walker. North County... . 100 dash... ... ... ... . 10.5
Brian Kaupa... .Severna Park... . 1600 run... ... ... ... 4:26.8
Sam Lomax... .. North County... . 400 dash... ... ... ... ..50.1
Scott Boetig... Old Mill... ... . 3200 run... ... ... .. 10:01.1
Rocky McMillan. Old Mill... ... . 300 hurdles... ... ... .. 39.3
Anthony Walker. North County... . 200 dash... ... ... ... . 22.0
Sam Lomax... .. North County... . 800 run... ... ... ... .2:00.4