UCLA distance coach takes first in Semana Nautica 15k

In a battle between coach and athlete, the coach prevailed in the 57th annual 4th of July Semana Nautica 15-kilometer road race on Monday.

Forest Braden, the distance running coach at UCLA, pulled away from his future athlete, Dos Pueblos grad Sergey Sushchikh at about the six-mile point and won in 48 minutes, 33 seconds. Sushchikh came in second in 49:20.

The women’s winner was Mandy Grantz, a grad student at Cal Tech in Pasadena, in 55:37 (10th overall).


“I like the way he runs,” Braden said of his incoming freshman, Sushchikh, who led the Dos Pueblos cross country team to a 10th-place finish in the state. “I like his guts, he just goes after it from the gun, and that’s what is going to make him a great collegiate runner.”

Dos Pueblos had about 15 members of its 2011 cross country team doing the race as a workout. Chargers Bryan Fernandez (55:03) and Max Davis (55:14) were the highest finishers in seventh and eighth place, respectively.

On the women’s side, DP’s Addi Zerrenner was third in 1:03.09.

Grantz is a newcomer to road racing after playing college tennis in Indiana.

“I started running marathons once I got to Pasadena,” said the future doctor in chemical engineering. “California is great, you can run in shorts year round.”

Jennifer Harpel of Houston, Texas was the second woman finisher in 1:01.47.