Sushchikh takes first at Semana Nautica 15k

Brendan Morrow-Jones shows his 4th of July colors during the Semana Nautica 15k.

Sergey Sushchikh won Wednesday morning’s Semana Nautica 4th of July 15k race with a time of 48:57, winning the Semana Nautica 15k for the first time after two near misses.

“It’s just always been a goal of mine,” Sushchikh said, having taken third place in 2010 and second place last year.

Sushchikh ran cross country and track at Dos Pueblos High School before moving on to UCLA last year.

Sushchikh let second-place finisher Robert Olivera set the pace during the first portion of the race which he said helped him with a solid start.

“But after the first three miles he eased off a bit and I just went,” said Sushchikh.

Mandy Grantz of Pasadena became a two-time winner, crossing the finish with a time of 57:11 to win the women’s race. Grantz is a part of Gritty City Track Club, hailing from Pasadena.

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The Semana Nautica 15k is connected with the Southern California USATF Road Championship Series, attracting out-of-town competitors as one of 11 state-wide grand prix events of the year.

Robert Olivera, new to the local 15k, finished second overall with a time of 49:55 followed by Ben Jacobs who ran a 51:39. Dos Pueblos student Bryan Fernandez, after finishing seventh last year with a time of 55:03, was able to finish three places faster with a time of 52:20.

Fifth and sixth place were taken by Curly Guillen, 52:59, and Ricky Ho, 53:24.

The Semana Nautica 15k starts on San Simeon near El Camino School and ends off Turnpike Road at San Marcos High School. The race cuts into Cathedral Oaks Road and loops through surrounding neighborhoods around Kellog School.

After returning for the past three years to race, there is no indication that Sushchickh won’t be back next year to defend his first-place title.

“I absolutely love this race.”