“We have been invited to be on the USA team for an international competition,” Gauldin said. “It is called the Pan American Championship. It is pretty much we going to be going against the Western Hemisphere … we will be competing July 1-6 and we will have the week off. The week after that we got to Nationals in Orlando again and that is the tournament that we qualified for.”
Gauldin has been impressive in 2013. He set an American record in February at the state competition in the dead lift (460 pounds). In April, he won the American Open in Atlanta. Even though Gauldin is representing America in the Pan American Championships he hopes that he can break another American record in the dead lift.
“I compete at 165 division,” Austin said. “We (Fulwood) are about even on the bench press, we would like to go around 300 for our competition bench. Squats, I am still recovering from a nagging hip injury, so I won’t be able to go as high on that. Dead lift, I would like to break the American record I set and go around 470 or 475 pounds. We are just proud to represent the country and represent God. We want to do the best we can for them.”
Fulwood set three personal records in the Southeastern High School State power lifting competition. He plans to have strong showing in the Pan American Championship, but he plans to give the National championship everything he has to offer.
“My main goal for Pan American is to do good for the team,” Hayden said. “When we get to Nationals it will be more about doing good for ourselves and winning medals.”
Jason Grissom, the pastor of Eureka Baptist Church trains Gauldin and Fulwood. Grissom believes that power lifting is filled with life lessons.
“We talk about here when the guys come in here, we call this place the bank,” Grissom said. “We talk about making a deposit every day. When you get to a competition you can only withdraw what you put in. That has become our mantra; lets make a big deposit today to kind of keep focused and on task. The guys do a good job of motivating one another; they come in every day ready to work hard. Some days are good; we try to make the good days as good as we can. We try to make our best days our greatest days. For me just to watch the discipline of power lifting really matures these guys and in the long run they will be better in life. It is just like anything in life you have to come day in and day out ready to work whether you feel like it or not. Some days these guys come in here and don’t feel good, but you are working for a goal.”
Dedication to training and a healthy diet are two factors that have helped the former Victory Christian duo have success.
“It is five days a week every morning,” Austin said. “It is two hours a day on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. With us being dead even on our strengths he beats me in some stuff and I beat him on some stuff. We are real good about pushing each other, if he sees me getting weak on something he pushes me and when I see him getting weak on something I push him. We just keep each other motivated.”
Fulwood believes having Gauldin there to push him helps him in practice as well as in competitions.
“Just a couple of weeks ago he missed a work out when we were doing dead lifts and I could barely get 475,”Hayden said. “When he was here yesterday when we did another dead lift work out and got 505. If he is not here it doesn’t feel right and I can’t lift right.”
The Pan American Championship and the National competition will be the last competitive competitions for both Gauldin and Fulwood.
Fulwood has suffered three ACL injuries in football and he said that power lifitng is hard on his knees. Next fall, he will attend South Alabama.
“I am going to South Alabama,” Hayden said. “I am just going to do my best to keep in shape and not get fat. I don’t plan to get competitive; it is just too much on my knees. I am going into Mechanical Engineering on scholarship. I like Physics, so we are going to see where that takes me. If that doesn’t work out, I am going to try to get a degree in Kinesiology and maybe open up my own gym at some point.”
Gauldin will attend college this fall and will major in Sports Medicine.
“My plan is stay local the first two years and get my basics at Jeff State,” Austin said. “Then, I am going to transfer to Samford to pursue a career being a sports medicine doctor. I am going to keep working out after Nationals, but unless I make the World team I am going to be done competing competitively.”
Gauldin and Fulwood are currently taking donations so they can compete in the tournaments in Orlando.
“We are currently trying to raise funds,” Hayden said. “We have a mandatory hotel that we have stay at the airport and you have to buy gear. Between meals and everything if you add it up it is $ 1,500 apiece. Then two weeks after that we will back in Orlando. It is a lot of funds that we have to come up with. We have been going around local businesses to get donations, so if any body wants to donate some money to us or our gym it will help tremendously.”
If anyone is interested in supporting Gauldin and Fulwood contact Jason Grissom by phone (256) 310-8740 or by email at Jason.grissom @ gmail.com.