By Rochelle Black
ROME - The Shorter track and field and cross country program has announced the addition of five mid-year additions to its team. The newest members of the Hawk family, one woman and four men, come to the Hill with high accolades from their previous institutions.
"We're very excited about the four we've just brought in," said Shorter Director of Track and Field and Cross Country, Scott Byrd. "They will make an immediate impact as we continue to transition to NCAA Division II from the NAIA."
New Hawks Cynia Clark (Lithonia, Ga. / Redan HS), David Johnson (Charlottesville, Va. / Charlottesville HS), Stefanos Koufidis (Athens, Greece / Culver Stockton College), Marshall Rawson (Gainesville, Fla. / Gainesville HS) and Micah Reed (Lilburn, Ga. / Parkview HS) are committed to compete this season and leave their respective marks on the program and school.
Cynia Clark (Jumps/Throws) Redan High School / Florida A&M University
"Cynia comes to Shorter as a transfer from Florida A&M University," said Rochelle Black, Assistant Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. "She's a Redan High graduate, so she's competed with the likes of Tamala Daley and the Holden sisters. Her ability to both throw and jump will make for a great addition to our team."
"She's a former state champion in the jumps and I know she'll do nothing but improve while here on the Hill," added Byrd.
David Johnson (Jumps) Charlottesville High School
David Johnson comes to Shorter as the No. 2-ranked triple jumper nationally, with a leap of 49 feet, 10.25 inches. At the New Balance National Championships this past summer, he jumped over 48 feet, which was good enough for runner-up honors.
"We've never had a freshman jumper come in with the talents of David Johnson," Black said of Johnson. "He was ranked as the best triple jumper in the nation for a month last year."
"I'm not sure if Coach Black is happier about David's jumping ability or the fact he's from Virginia," added Byrd. "Either way, it's going to be great to be able to work with someone of his caliber."
Stefanos Koufidis (Pole Vault) Culver-Stockton College
Stefanos is the team's first ever Greek student-athlete, hailing from the 2004 Olympic site of Athens. A former NAIA national champion in the pole vault, his personal best of 17 feet, 8.5 inches is an Olympic qualifying height.
"Stefanos has already proven himself to be a leader in his short time here," commented Byrd on the first vaulter in school history. "He's already fitting in with the guys, and has positioned himself as a future leader on the team."
Marshall Rawson (Decathlon) Gainesville High School
With Jeffrey Williams and C.J. Scott both gone after competing in the decathlon last year, Rawson comes in as the lone decathlete on this year's team. A native Floridian, he competed against fellow newcomer Dwight White. This year, the former rivals will suit up as teammates.
"We've known of Marshall for some time now, and now that he's here, we know he'll take the decathlon to a higher level," said Byrd.
Micah Reed (Sprints) Parkview High School
All-state sprinter Micah Reed rounds out the list of newcomers for the Hawks. The Lilburn native finished 6th in the 2012 Georgia State Championships in the 100 meter dash, and 8th in the 200 meters at the same meet. Coming in with a 10.6 personal best in the 100 meters, he looks to contribute immediately to an already talented pool of sprinters.
"Micah is a gift left on our doorstep," said Byrd. "He literally walked in and said he'd like to join the team. I just couldn't say no.
"If he comes in here and works with us, he'll prove to be another top sprinter for the team," added Byrd.