Former Rochelle track and field standout Colfay Pointer had an uncertain feeling before lacing up his cleats for the NCAA Division III National Championships in Geneva, Ohio this past weekend. But a stunning performance in the finals of the 400-meter dash elevated Pointer into uncharted territory as one of Dubuque University’s greatest track athletes.
Pointer ranked as high as 15th in the world during the indoor season this year before pulling his hamstring, an injury that forced him to slow down his workouts. As a result, Pointer fell behind in his training, and his times were coming in slower than his race at last year’s national meet, where he placed 11th with a time of 47.68 seconds.
However, Pointer shocked everybody including himself at this year’s national championships, where he placed sixth in the prelims with a time of 48.16 before setting a personal record and a Dubuque University school record in the finals, medaling in seventh place with a time of 46.97. The performance earned Pointer Division III All-American status.
“It was a big breakthrough and it was very exciting and unexpected,” Pointer said. “I was in disbelief and I still am… I was ranked 14th going in and I wanted to focus on training for the summer, but my coach convinced me this could be it, so we went for it and it was unbelievable to run a 46-second race.”
Pointer’s national performance capped off an excellent junior season at Dubuque, where he won three individual titles in the 400-meter dash during the outdoor season while placing second three times. Pointer also finished first with a personal record in the 600-meter run (1:19.71) during the indoor season. The former Hub helped Dubuque win three outdoor titles in relay events, and he added one title in the 200-meter dash.
“My experience with Dubuque track and field has been amazing,” Pointer said. “I have learned a lot. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about collegiate track is the people you meet along the way. You meet some great people and it’s interesting to meet people from other states and countries.”
Pointer led Rochelle to the IHSA State Championships in three events during his senior season, finishing second in the 400-meter dash and helping the Hubs to second in the 1600-meter relay and eighth in the 3200-meter relay. Pointer took sixth in the state finals of the 400-meter dash his junior season.
Pointer, who’s majoring in criminal justice and sociology at Dubuque, said he wants to pursue a graduate education and earn a master’s degree to become a school counselor. On the track, he said he wants to shave even more seconds off his 400 time during his senior season next year.
“I came in running a 49 and I’m already running a 46,” Pointer said. “I plan to work harder than I ever have so that next May, I’m faster than I’ve ever been… Competing at Rochelle really helped improve my mental toughness, perseverance and consistency. Rochelle showed me that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible.”