I watched the regional and I don't think Rooks broke pace and easily finished to qualify like he raced the semi-final. Hamilton had raced a few high altitude Steeples, I watched him at the Idaho State meet. But at Sacremento where regionals were he went all out. You could tell he was spent at 8:15.
The week previous Rooks ran against those pros (non NCAA race) and ran the 8:17 and didn't look like he was winded. If I bet on college races I'd have put all my money on Rooks tonight. It didn't surprise me he won. Duncan Hamilton is a great runner though and I agree he will be a good pro. Rooks could be a special steepler. The next Henry Marsh. He just runs it so strategically.