The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

Latter-day Saint Kenneth Rooks became Brigham Young University’s first male individual to win a national championship in four years when he pulled away from Montana State’s Duncan Hamilton in the final lap of the steeplechase race at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas, on Friday, June 9.

The junior from Walla Walla, Washington, crossed the finish line with a time of 8:26.17, six seconds ahead of Hamilton. His victory also lifted the No. 14 BYU men’s track and field team to a 10th-place overall finish at the national outdoor competition.

After the race, a reporter asked Rooks how he dealt with running in the Texas heat and humidity. Rooks didn’t think it was as hot as the last time he raced there, in 2019, but he felt well prepared and had the added experience of living in Uganda as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“That might have helped a little bit too,” Rooks said.

Rooks served most of his mission in Kampala, Uganda, and for a short time in Orem, Utah, during onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was wonderful,” Rooks said of his mission. “I got to spend some time out there teaching other people about Jesus Christ and serving them. The people of Uganda are really loving.”

The steeplechase is a race that includes obstacles, such as hurdles and a water pit. On May 6, Rooks became the fastest American collegiate athlete to run the steeplechase, at 8:17.62. Less than a month later, on May 26, Hamilton set a record with 8:16.23 at the NCAA West Preliminaries.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE