Track & Field Coaching Staff
Forest Braden
Assistant Coach - Mid Distances, Distance, Cross Country
Coach Info:
Position: Assistant Coach - Mid Distances, Distance, Cross Country
Alma Mater: Boise State '07
Experience: 7 Years

Forest Braden enters his seventh year with the Bruins where he coaches the distance runners. Prior to coming to Westwood, he spent the 2008 season as a volunteer assistant with Gonzaga University where he worked closely with standout distance coach Pat Tyson in recruiting and facilitating training sessions.

The distance squad had numerous standout individual performances in 2015. Lane Werley bounced back and was a NCAA qualifier in both the 5k and 10k and ultimately garnered second team All-American honors in the 5k. Nick Hartle earned All-American accolades in the 800m while Bronte Golick closed out her Bruin career with honorable mention honors in the 10k. Golick clocked the second fastest 10k in school history with a time of 34:03.41 and also etched her name in the 5k with the seventh fastest time with a 16:26.43. Kelsey Smith was a NCAA qualifier in the 10k and posted the third fastest time with a 34:12.82.

Braden was instrumental in the transformation of Ally Courtnall into an 800m runner as the former soccer All-American and 400m standout clocked the seventh fastest time in school history with a 2:05.48 en route to qualifying for the NCAA regional. Daniel Herrera was a NCAA qualifier in the 1,500m and clocked the 10th fastest time in school history with a 3:42.17 while Austin O’Neil and Sean Davis were also both qualifiers for the 1,500m at the regional. 

The distance squad under the direction of Braden had some standout performances in 2014. Kelsey Smith capped off her junior season in impressive fashion. She etched her name in the UCLA record books by running the second fastest 3,000m in school history en route to earning All-American honors. During the outdoor season she clocked the second fastest 5,000m time at UCLA with a 16:01.30 and was an NCAA qualifier in the event. In all, six distance athletes qualified for the NCAA meet. Nick Hartle opened his outdoor season with the sixth fastest 800m time in school history. For his effort he was named the Pac-12 runner of the week. Bronte Golick posted the second fastest 10,000m time in school history with a 34:34.55. Three in the steeple checked in at the UCLA top-10 as Meghan Marvin ran the sixth fastest time at UCLA while Emily Scharmann clocked the eighth and Sabrina Seay posted the 10th best marks.

In 2013, Lane Werley was the runner up at the PAC-12 Championships in the 5000m and qualified for the first round of the NCAA Championships in the event as well, running a 13:53. Dustin Fay ran a 13:51 indoors and qualified for the 10,000m at the first round of the NCAA Championships. Kelsey Smith ran the eighth best time ever at UCLA in the 5000m, qualifying for first round of NCAA’s. Katja Goldring placed fourth in the 5000m at the MPSF Championships and placed 14th at the first round of NCAA’s in the 10,000. Bronte Golick placed eighth at the PAC-12 Championships in the 10k and ran the ninth best time by a Bruin ever in that event.

In 2012, Braden worked with a strong group of distance runners. Redshirt freshman Dustin Fay ran an indoor school record of 13:49 in the 5000m to qualify for the NCAA National Indoor Championship. He also qualified for the NCAA Preliminary Round outdoors. Junior Katja Goldring ran the second fastest 10,000m in school history with a time of 34:41.82 and placed 14th in the Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championships. Freshman Kelsey Smith ran a new personal record (16:41) to qualify for the Preliminary round of the NCAAs in the 5000m. For the first time, redshirt senior Kent Morikawa ran the steeplechase, placing fifth at the Pac-12 Championships and qualifying for the NCAA Preliminary round. Freshman Merissa Kado is tenth all-time at UCLA in the steeplechase after running a time of 10:58.48. Freshman Lane Werley ran one of the top junior times in the country in the 5000m (13:56). At the USATF Junior Championships, the Bruins were represented by Kado in the steeplechase, Nathaniel Cushing-Murray in the 10k and Werley, Annie Mooney and Bronte Golick in the 5000m. Werley and Cushing-Murray both finished fourth to lead the Bruin squad at the meet.

In 2011, the Bruins had two sub-9-minute steeplechasers in Jake Matthews (8:57.55) and David McDonald (8:59.30) as both scored at Pac-10s. The long distance runners thrived under Braden’s leadership in his first season at UCLA as Dylan Knight led the way in the steeplechase. Knight ran a lifetime-best of 8:43.68 to move to fifth all-time in UCLA history, competed at the NCAA Outdoor meet and was the Pac-10 runner-up in the event. Spencer Knight (8:57.95) and David McDonald (9:10.80) also ran lifetime-best marks in the steeple. Marco Anzures moved to fifth all-time in the 10,000m (29:00.21) and also ran a lifetime-best of 14:07.69 in the 5000m. Alex Crabill was a provisional qualifier for the indoor meet in the 3000m (8:03.07) and also ran the No. 6 marathon time in UCLA history (2:20.38).

Prior to his coaching stint at Gonzaga, Braden was a three-time All-American runner for coach Mike Maynard at Boise State from 2002-2007, earning accolades in indoor and outdoor track as well as cross country. He also won seven Western Athletic Conference titles as a Bronco.

Braden also ran for Team Indiana Elite for one year and placed in the top-10 in five USATF Championship meets.