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Stride for Stride

Joshua Brockman and Cameron Murray ’22 push each other as they chase down records.

Joshua Brockman, left, and Cameron Murray ’22 , right. Photograph courtesy of NC State Athletics.

By Jack Daly ’01

Joshua Brockman and Cameron Murray ’22 are in lockstep. Sure, both NC State track athletes were happy to reach the NCAA Championships in the 110-meter hurdles in June. Brockman ran a 13.61 time, his second-fastest of the year to that point, and earned second-team All-American status; Murray, meanwhile, was recognized as honorable mention All-American for his performance.

Yet the pair of close friends felt they were capable of more. “I definitely wasn’t pleased,” Murray says.

That Brockman and Murray were disappointed speaks to their performance in 2022. Both approached personal records multiple times en route to their first appearance at the NCAA national meet (Murray also competes in long jump and finished 11th in the ACC).

It also speaks to how the friends feed off each other. Murray, a graduate student from Atlanta, Ga., describes Brockman, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., as a “brother.” While the bond extends off the track, it shows up most regularly at the gym, practices and meets. “He makes me want to work hard,” Murray says. “He’s my training partner — I definitely don’t want to be in the back while he is in the front.”

Brockman needed support at multiple moments this season. He has had recent challenges balancing academics and athletics, which led to some mental health struggles. By May, Brockman says he was questioning whether he wanted to continue competing. “I didn’t feel like doing any of it,” Brockman says.

Allen Johnson, NC State’s sprints and hurdles coach, helped Brockman work through it. Feeding off his support, Brockman rebounded by setting a personal best that he eventually beat when he ran a school-record 13.55 seconds in the semifinals of the USA Track & Field meet in late June. Johnson is another link between the two. Murray transferred from the University of Tennessee to Raleigh to work with the former Olympic gold medalist.

Murray is on a similar trajectory as Brockman, almost eclipsing his personal best at the USA Track & Field meet. Each identifies similar goals for next season — to be one of the best athletes in the NCAAs. 

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