Feb. 27, 2006
Tallahassee, Fla. – Less than three months after winning the first Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship, three Seminoles are getting sized for yet a second conference ring. Sophomore All-American Kenny O’Neal (Oakland, Calif./Skyline) and freshmen Michael Ray Garvin (Ramsey, NJ/Don Bosco Prep) and Antone Smith (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee) helped the No. 4/4 Florida State men’s track and field team secure its fourth consecutive ACC Indoor Track and Field title.
As a group, they finished in fourth, fifth and sixth place in the finals of the 60m, accounting for 12 team points. They also have three of the top five overall 60m marks in the league in the 60m. O’Neal’s 200m clip is one of the best in the conference and Garvin’s 21.98 is among the best for rookies in the conference. O’Neal and Garvin are high school sprinting stars who chose to continue their careers in college while Smith is a speedy running back who is developing his technique and running form for the football field and looking to score points at the conference level.
O’Neal is the veteran of the bunch, competing in his second indoor season since joining the Seminoles squad. In 2005, he met the provisional standard in his first outing at the Florida Intercollegiate Championships. He finished that season second in the team in the 60m, only to NCAA Indoor National runner-up Walter Dix. O’Neal’s fifth place finish and four team points at the 2005 conference championship were critical in the Seminoles edging Clemson by 2.5 points in the team standing to win a third league crown.
After taking a break from track to return to spring football practice, O’Neal came out without missing a step running the second leg of the relay that brought home the first ACC Outdoor 4x100m title since joining the league in 1992. Earning his third conference ring with that team championship, O’Neal furthered his jewelry collection with a crown at the NCAA East Region Championships.
At the NCAA Outdoor National Championships, O’Neal earned All-American honors as a member of the relay that ran the third-fastest 4x100m time in the program’s 57-year history. The seventh-place, relay points were critical in FSU tying for fourth-place with BYU, the program’s first top five team finish since 1980.
Newcomers Garvin and Smith are showing the same potential as O’Neal in just a short amount of time. Garvin finished sixth in the 60m at the conference meet, picking up three team points for the Garnet and Gold, in just his first official race of the year. The former high school All-American should be a serious threat during the outdoor campaign as his 100m time of 10.46 at the 2005 Nike High School Championships would have earned him an NCAA regional qualifying mark last year. With training and steady improvement, the Ramsey, N.J., native is expected to mimic O’Neal’s individual and relay performances at the conference, regional and national levels.
On the football field, Garvin stepped up at the cornerback position after injuries depleted the area. He led all true freshman with 12 solo tackles and his 16 overall were second only to linebacker Derek Nicholson. He saw extensive action in league wins over Wake Forest and Duke.
Smith spent the fall studying the running back game of some of the country’s best in Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington. He joined FSU on the track at the Pepsi Invite, Tyson Invite and most recently the ACC Championships. After less than a month of practice time, smith scored four points in finishing fifth in the Seminoles’ attaining their fourth conference title. Showing steady improvement at practice, Smith shaved .12 seconds off his season-opening time, running 6.83 in the 60m finals for fifth place.
Smith ranked third on the team in carries, rushing yards and yards per game. His breakout football game came against Duke where he had a career-best run of 45 yards and finished with career-highs in carries (76) and touchdowns per game (2).
For these dual sports stars, whether they excel on the track or the football field, their impact on the Seminole nation as a whole will be felt for years to come.