Until recently, Jason Fullmer considered himself a novice decathlete. Lately, however, he's been turning in efforts that are shocking people -- especially himself.
In his first decathlon competition at Auburn (Ala.) University last weekend, the 6-foot-6 South River High senior placed fourth in The Athletic Conference's National Youth Athletic Championships, taking first place in the 110-meter hurdles and in the 100-meter dash.
And after the first five events of the Amateur Athletic Union regional meet yesterday, Fullmer -- the defending Class 3A state champion in the 110 and 300 hurdles -- was leading the field with 3,270 points.
Fullmer, the Anne Arundel County Sun's 1992 Male Track Athlete of the Year, captured first place in three events and was a runner-up in another. His closest competitor, Quakestown, Pa.'s Kevin Kelly, had 3,133 points entering the final stretch of the two-day, 10-event competition in Ambler, Pa.
"I'm really pleased with my performances," said Fullmer, the defending county and regional 110 hurdles champion and the 300 hurdles regional champ.
The 170-pounder is tuning up for next weekend's East Coast Invitational at Towson State University, as well as the AAU decathlon nationals in early August.
"I've had a lot of personal records today," said Fullmer from his hotel room. "That has shocked people out here in a lot of ways."
Jason's father, Craig, is an assistant at South River and has accompanied his son on the trip.
"Generally, the first day has been Jason's best," said Craig Fullmer, whose son still must compete in the 110 hurdles, 1,500 meters, javelin, discus and pole vault today.
"What's been a pleasant surprise is that he's 400 points ahead of his first day at the National Youth Championships last week. We're hoping to break 6,000 points and he's way ahead of schedule."
Yesterday, Fullmer took first place in the 100 meters (11.1 seconds), the high jump (6-feet-2) and in the 400 run (51.8), while finishing second in the long jump with a leap of 20-1 1/2 .
His only disappointment came in the shot put, where he managed only a toss of 30-10.
"I think the reason I'm doing so well is that I've got one decathlon under my belt," said Fullmer, referring to last weekend's competition. "I was kind of hesitant last week and was unsure of what to think or what to do. Now, I'm just ready to give it my all."