Written by Donald Speas, edits & additional commentary via Garrett Zatlin
Kenneth Rooks, the BYU steeplechase superstar, will be forgoing the remainder of his collegiate eligibility and signing a pro deal with Nike, per Citius Mag.
Last spring, Rooks was beyond dominant, emerging as an all-time collegiate great in the steeplechase. At the Sound Running Track Festival in early May, Rooks took down a loaded field of professionals, running a then-NCAA #2 all-time mark of 8:17 (which now sits behind Duncan Hamilton at NCAA #3 all-time).
The Stride Report was also fortunate enough to catch up with Rooks after that performance, a piece which you can read here: A Quick Chat with World Leader Kenneth Rooks.
A month later, Kenneth Rooks won a highly anticipated duel with current Nike Bowerman Track Club runner and former Montana State Bobcat star, Duncan Hamilton, to win the NCAA steeplechase title.
Later that summer, Rooks won the American national title over the barriers and water pits. Despite falling in the early stages of the race, the BYU standout came back to win gold in a personal best of 8:16. Rooks would advance to the World Championships in Budapest where he qualified for the finals, finishing in 10th place overall.
Rooks would later return to collegiate competition this past fall, adding an All-American honor to his resume with a 35th place finish at the NCAA XC Championships, playing an integral role in BYU’s podium finish.
Following Rooks' announcement, the top-two finishers in the steeplechase from last year’s outdoor national meet have now joined the professional ranks, leaving UTEP-turned-Texas A&M star, Victor Kibiego, as the presumptive national title favorite for this spring.