TRACK & FIELD: 5 Transfers Added for 2015

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TRACK & FIELD: 5 Transfers Added for 2015

Petros Kyprianou
Petros Kyprianou

Highlighted by two 2015 NCAA scorers, Georgia’s track and field teams have added five transfers to the teams that posted four national top-15 finishes during the last indoor and outdoor seasons, according to an announcement from Bulldog head coach Petros Kyprianou.

Sophomore sprinter Kendal Williams, sophomore hurdler/sprinter Helene Swanepoel, graduate student heptathlete Xenia Rahn and junior distance runners Eric Graf and Jon Moses will be starting classes with the rest of the University of Georgia population on August 17.


Williams and Swanepoel come to Athens from Tallahassee, where they trained under former Florida State coach and current Georgia associate head coach (sprints, hurdles) Ken Harnden.  Rahn, who will be attending graduate school at UGA, arrives after completing her undergraduate career at North Carolina.


Graf ran for Oklahoma for two years and Moses competed for Florida Southern for two years before joining the Bulldogs this fall.


“I am very excited to announce the signing of five very talented and accomplished student-athlete transfers,” said Kyprianou.  “It is a true testament of our team’s efforts to make an immediate impact at the highest level.  We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to have these kids land in Athens and be fired up to help our current team with our goals in pursuing NCAA success.”


Williams, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., was a two-time First Team All-American outdoors for the Seminoles this year, taking fifth in the 100-meter dash (9.98) and eighth in the 200 (20.45).  The 2015 ACC Indoor Freshman of the Year also clocked a 9.98 for runner-up honors at the ACC Championships.  Indoors, Williams, who has a personal record in the 200 of 20.26, won the ACC 60 title with a season-best mark of 6.56.  He capped his prep career by winning the 2014 World Junior 100 title, finishing second in the 200 and running a leg on Team USA’s gold medal 4×100 relay.


Ironically, this is the second standout for Georgia with that name, although the Lady Bulldogs’ Kendell Williams spells her name differently.  Kendell is headed into her third season with three NCAA titles, two SEC crowns and a collegiate record in the pentathlon already on her resume.


“Now having one Kendal Williams on the men’s team and another Kendell Williams on the women’s team who are each World Junior champions makes us a double-threat team!”  Kyprianou said.  “Every time a sub-10 second guy comes to your team, you have to be ecstatic.  This is the level of athletes a championship team needs and must have.  Coach Harnden has done a great job recruiting him to UGA.  Kendal has decided to stay true to his promises for Olympic glory and we have made a commitment to him that will promote his talents to the world by helping him write history here at UGA as our ‘ancient’ 100m school record is at a blazing 10.01 (Bode Osagiobare, 1994 Sierra Medical Invitational).  Kendal is the one we believe can be the next big thing in the U.S. sprints and take that record down.”


Swanepoel, a native of Wellington, South Africa, was the 2013 World Junior champion in the 400 hurdles (58.08) and is now a Georgia student-athlete.  The former Seminole advanced to the 2015 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the 4×400 relay.  Swanepoel’s team clocked the fastest time for FSU since 1984 (3:29.85) as the Seminoles took third at the NCAA East Prelims to punch their ticket to Nationals.


“Helene is another World Youth champion and a great talent out of South Africa,” said Kyprianou.  “I have watched her win in Ukraine in 2013 and I am convinced she has what it takes to score big for us at the SEC and NCAA level.  She reminds me of my fellow countrywoman and 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the 400 hurdles, Fani Chalkia.  I am very excited for Helene and the possibility to help us boost our women’s  sprints program and join current relay girl standouts in Ashley Henry and Devon Artis for an NCAA scoring 4×400 relay.”


Rahn, a native of Dormagen, Germany, will be completing her Sport Management graduate degree and competing for the Bulldogs following a stellar career at North Carolina.  Rahn finished third in the pentathlon at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships and picked up another First Team All-America certificate with a seventh-place finish in the heptathlon (5,851) at outdoor Nationals.  She won this past season’s ACC heptathlon title by more than 500 points with a career-high 6,057 points.  Rahn has advanced to five NCAA Championships in her career after winning heptathlon and pentathlon titles at the German Championships during her prep career.


“Xenia has proven herself to be one of the best heptathletes in the NCAA and we are very happy to have her join our powerful combined events group,” Kyprianou said.  “She has developed into a great NCAA title contender and thanks to her UNC coach Josh Langley, she emerged into this elite class.  Even though she has only one season left, we are expecting her to push herself into Olympic status and push her fellow heptathletes here for more success.  Xenia is a tremendous competitor and a great person to add to our team.”


Graf, a native of Charles Town, W.V., earned NCAA All-Region honors in cross country at the 2014 NCAA Midwest Regional for the Sooners.  Qualifying for the NCAA West Prelims during the 2015 outdoor season, Graf ran a season-best 10,000 time of 29:46 at the Big 12 Championships.  The Academic All-Big 12 honoree was an eight-time All-State runner during his high school days in West Virginia.


“I am very happy with what Coach Pat Cunniff has seen and signed in Eric Graf,” said Kyprianou.  “Eric has a very positive, confident and healthy attitude that will help our cross country and distance teams to push for a great season.  I like his demeanor and excitement in joining us here at Georgia and how the distance corps came together in recruiting him to our team.  I can’t be happier with what Eric is bringing to us and we expect him to produce at the highest level.”


Moses, a native of Lawrenceville, Ga., finished in the top 20 overall at the 2014 NCAA D-II South Regionals for Florida Southern before being the Mocs’ second scorer at the NCAA D-II Championships.  He was also named to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team.  Moses was a two-time member of the Footlocker All-South Team while running for Collins Hill High School.


“Jonathan is solid runner that we are counting on in our efforts to get our cross country team back to the NCAA championships,” Kyprianou said.  “He is in my opinion a great project for Coach Cunniff to develop like he has had in the past with our runners.  We are looking forward watching him putting in work and helping our cross team succeed.”

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