Will Daniels shares impact of faith in his life
Will Daniels was a special guest at the Mini-Vacation Bible School event hosted by the congregation at Grace United Methodist Church in Geneseo.
The event was held Sunday, Aug. 1, and Daniels spoke at both the afternoon activities for youth at the Geneseo Park District Athletic Field with a theme of “The Olympics – I Have Run the Race, I Have Kept the Faith,” and at the evening family swim party held at the Geneseo Park District Aquatic Center.
Daniels, who is nationally ranked in the decathlon, shared his experiences of being in the recent Olympic time trials in Eugene, OR, and the impact faith has had on him as he competed at the national level.
“My Christian faith has primarily shifted my purpose in competition,” he said. “A gospel-centered focus has given me the freedom to compete without worrying about results or expectations and instead enjoy the gifts and opportunities that God has given me.”
Having that perspective during the entire season, Daniels said “made it much easier for me to manage my nerves at important meets, and it made competition much more enjoyable and rewarding.”
“A lesson that I have learned over and over at each level of competition is how temporary ad fleeting the rewards of sports can be, but also how rewarding it is to compete for Christ and find satisfaction in Him,” he said.
Reading and studying the Bible has also helped Daniels as an athlete, he said…”For example, I found great peace in reading prayers from the Psalms each morning before competition at the Olympic Trials. I also learned the value of memorizing scripture in high school through a TFCA (Together for Christ Alone) Bible study, and this practice has helped the Word of God influence my life in many new ways. This was especially helpful during competition and training when I could look to scripture for encouragement and guidance for whatever I was facing.”
“I’m so thankful for all of the amazing spiritual role models in Geneseo that have demonstrated in their lives what it means to follow Christ and how our faith can shape everything that we do,” Daniels said. “I am grateful for the support and prayers that I received from the community, and I feel extremely fortunate to have been raised in a community that encourages young students to not only pursue their passions in fine arts, sports, academics, and agriculture, but to also use those activities as a means to explore their relationship with God.”
The young man is the son of Dr. Tom and Becky Daniels of Geneseo.
After graduating from Geneseo High School in 2016, Daniels graduated from Central College in three years during which Daniels captured three national championships in track and field and is a five-time All-American.
A two-time NCAA Division III heptathlon champion indoors at Central College in Pella, Iowa, Daniels also won the Division III decathlon championship outdoors.
He placed second in the Big 10 Championship held earlier this spring at the University of Illinois where he also received All-Conference honors and broke the University of Iowa Decathlon record with a score of 7864 points. That score places him 6th in Davison 1 competition and puts him in 11th place on the Olympic Trial List.
Most recently, he graduated from the University of Iowa with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology and is hoping to start medical school in the future.