Coaches and Board


This team would not be possible if not for the incredible efforts of the Coaches and the Board. These people embody everything that Cal Tri is about and are responsible for turning 150 people into a wonderful, close-knit family and a destructive, dominating team.

Head Coach: Dean Harper

Assistant Coaches: John Dahlz, Seth Davis, Rob

2014-2015 Board

  • Internal (Training) Vice President: Lauri Takacsi, internalvp@caltriathlon.com
  • External (Racing) Vice President: Rory Runser, externalvp@caltriathlon.com
  • Treasurer: Ben Khoo ,  treasurer@caltriathlon.com
  • Volunteer/Fundraising/Alumni Outreach Coordinator: Camila Rico, fundraise@caltriathlon.com, alumni@caltriathlon.com
  • Bearathlon Director: David Cuban, racedirector@bearathlon.com


kristenKristen Curry, President

As El Presidente of Cal Triathlon, Kristen easily fills these big shoes with her size 8 feet. Don’t let her bubbly disposition fool you, Kristen has a smoking run in her arsenal, and is not afraid to show the guys who’s the boss on the track. Despite nursing a knee injury in 2013, Kristen continue to keep fit by leading one of the least mentally stimulating exercises known to Man – aqua-jogging – a testament to her dedication to the sport. As apparel chair last season, Kristen also decked the team in the coolest threads ensuring that our tri-hotties looked spiffy year round, whether at the races or around campus. When she is not training, Kristen finds time to pursue a double degree in computer science and architecture. Her infectious love of triathlon was unintentionally spread to her peers when she managed to convince them to create a short animation on what else but a Bear riding a Bicycle. Don’t let her illustrious history scared you away, Kristen is also one of the sweetest members on Cal Triathlon. You can be sure that she will know every single Tri-lingo that exists and will impart this wisdom upon request.

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Lauri
Lauri Takacsi, Internal (Training) Vice President

Lauri hails from the land of the Finns, making him the most Euro member on Board, and is pursuing a double major in Applied Math and CS.  Originally from a running background, Lauri has embraced the tri sport culture and now lives and breathes triathlon. He has made many sacrifices (including his front teeth) to reach his current level of awesomeness, placing 20th at Nationals and dropping the fastest run split in the country. He is an expert in all three sports, especially the last 2/3 of the race, and can even offer you advice for improving your life outside of triathlon (ask him about a gluten-free diet). Known for his recovery food of choice, poptarts, and signature catchphrase “HTFU”, Lauri will surely help train our team to victory at Nats this year.

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roryRory Runser, External (Racing) Vice President

Rory Runser is a fourth year chemical engineering major from Palo Alto.  He is also referred to as Sheldon, due to his Big Bang Theory-worthy wit and physical resemblance to the character on the show.  With a background in running, he is well known on the team for dropping insanely fast run splits, laying waste to every competitor in his path.  In his spare time, Rory enjoys eating Nutella, solving Rubik’s cubes (18.71 seconds!), and attempting to beat Lauri in 5k races.

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benBen Khoo, Treasurer

Ben Khoo – BK for short, or “Bonky Kong” for long. He receives this second nickname as a result of admiration from his teammates for his willitness to swim, bike, and run on the ragged edge. Few can even hope to match his intensity, as he crushes workout to workout, is a regular at virtually every team practice and is never afraid to mix it up with the big boys, and hand it to them on many an occasion (until he bonks, which also sometimes happens, hence the nickname). Whether it’s hill repeats on the bike, a hard track workout, or riding down all the way to San Diego right before a week of challenging training at tri camp, Ben is down for anything.

This year Ben is your treasurer. Admittedly his track record as such is rather…short…but even a fraction of his energy and intensity is more than enough to fulfill the wading-in-a-kiddie-pool-of-cash duties that the position entails. And that’s a guarantee. So shut up and give him your money!!

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LouieLouie Cao, Sponsorship

Don’t undermine Louie’s athletic performance just because he is super young and wicked smart (studying some crazy science-y thing)…he is also a beast triathlete. Growing up as a swimmer in the streets of Highland ,CA he had no clue how to run or bike, but Cal Triathlon hooked him up to all new sorts of levels. Going into Beast Mode for every single race has made Louie a competitor to be feared. Thanks to intimidation and his outstanding powers of persuasion (due to his still-a-baby face) Louie will be able to provide every one of us with the greatest gift for triathletes …free and discounted swag, energy drinks, and GU! As a sponsorship chair, he will utilize his problem-sets solving skills to analyze and manipulate any obstacle that comes his way in order to give us the best of the best. Though he is still 18 and already going into his 3rd year of college, Louie is equipped with knowledge so feel free to ask him for any type of advice!

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StephanieStephanie Scannell, Sponsorship

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LaurenLauren Capelluto, Public Relations

Lauren, our curly haired PR extraordinaire from New York is pumped and ready for this year. Coming from a running and equestrian background, when she came to Cal, Lauren decided to trade riding a horse for a bicycle. She is crazy enough to be a double major in Physics AND Computer science, but when she is not training for triathlons or studying, you could find Lauren showing off her moves on the dance floor… Or the classroom.. Or Sproul?

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katherineKatherine Velicki, Apparel Director

Katherine Velicki, our talented and dedicated apparel director, is known for her natural running and her constant smile while doing it. She is a key member of Cal Triathlon’s women’s team, most recently coming in as the 3rd scoring member of the team at Collegiate Nationals 2014. Katherine is also known for her “Travel Tuesday” articles in the daily Cal, where she writes about various secret destinations in Berkeley worthy of day hikes and weekend expeditions. Katherine is also a nature enthusiast and back-packing expert. If you’re looking for an exploring buddy (especially one that cracks some seriously hilarious jokes), get in touch with Kat!

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giorgiaGiorgia Willits, Social Chair

Hailing from Irvine is your sexy sophomore social chair, Giorgia Willits! Majoring in Bio Engineering, she is not only super smart, but also an easy-going, caring friend, and we’re lucky to have her as Social Chair. This girl is determined to make Cal Tri History. Last year she broke her arm, needing a THREE inch nail screwed into her bone to hold it together. But that didn’t faze her! Only two and a half weeks later, she was already running again. She was even able to make it to Wildflower, where her relay team placed first for the Olympic female relay. Thanks to years on her high school swim team and a new-found infatuation with biking, she swims, bikes, and runs like a beast. Expect to see Giorgia wrecking the competition on the race course. Yet her part in Cal Tri History will not be limited to her races: no one would miss an event planned by this tri-hottie. She will bring you the best social events and, of course, with her charming personality, easily recruit gorgeous athletes to join Cal Triathlon’s domination of the U.S. collegiate triathlons.

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Spencer

Spencer Pace, Social Chair

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Carly

Carly Clusserath, Education Director

Reigning for the deep forests of Truckee, California, Carly Clusserath knows everything there is to know about triathlon and is here to teach YOU! While most babies were just learning to crawl, Carly was already dominating the racecourse before her first birthday. Carly is so talented, that even her pet dog is projected to break the marathon world record. When Carly is not swimming, biking, or running, she is carefully devising a plan to ensure the Cal Triathlon team will be as educated on the fine details of the multisport as the Brownlee brothers. Look out for Carly’s education meetings so you too can become greatness!

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camila
Camila Rico, Volunteer/Fundraiser Coordinator

Camila is Cal Tri’s Colombian superstar, and she has been dominating the triathlon field since high school with her team, Wolfpak. After she decided that winning her age group in countless races was not enough, she joined the team with two of her floormates freshman year. When she’s not busy showing off her cool dance moves and chilling with the bears in Yosemite, she’s whipping up the team into grade-A volunteers for everything from our local triathlons to Cal’s football games. We are lucky to have her as the new volunteer coordinator on this year’s Tri Board!

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kendra

Kendra Paskvan, Secretary

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elena
Elena Ouyang, Webmaster

Elena joined the Cal Tri team her freshman year, and has not looked back since. She was a runner since middle school, and one fateful Caltopia day decided to make the jump into triathlon instead. Despite not touching a bike since 5th grade and being someone who was known to barely be able to float, she can now successfully say she is a triathlete, with a few sprints and olympics under her belt. Elena is this year’s webmaster!

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davidDavid Cuban, Bearathlon Race Director

An exceptionally “stoked”, strapping young man of 20 years, Race Director David Cuban ascended at lightning speed into the elite ranks of Cal Triathlon during his sophomore year at Cal. Constantly donning fluorescent orange compression socks to ward off an ever-threatening array of injuries, David has repeatedly astounded his peers not only on the track, in the pool, and on the road, but also in the kitchen. To assert his dominance at the stovetop, David arrived to 2014 Winter Tri Camp with a forest of basil plants for his pesto pasta specialty; since the night of his Master Chef debut, no member of Cal Triathlon has enjoyed a culinary experience without reminiscing lustfully about David’s legendary pesto sauce.

David’s talent and persistence may have won him the title of Cal Triathlon’s 2014 Rookie of the Year, but this honor pales in comparison to our Race Director’s most impressive accomplishment of the season. Using his relentless charm, puppy-dog eyes, bulging biceps, and of course, more pesto sauce, David Cuban won the heart of the illustrious Alison Ryan, Cal Triathlon’s unforgettably elegant Education Director. Although many Berkeley ladies still mourn the extrication of David Cuban from the dating market, rest assured that our hero has met his perfect match in baking prowess, athletic ambition, and bulging biceps.

As one of UC Berkeley’s finest mechanical engineers, David Cuban shows gleaming promise as craftsman of this year’s elusive Bearathlon. With his undeniable athleticism, overwhelming charisma, and infallible optimism, David will undoubtedly leave his mark on Cal Tri history.

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Dean Harper, Head Coach

Dean completed his first triathlon in August 1981. He won the first race he entered and has been hooked on the sport ever since. He competed as a professional triathlete from 1982-1986 alongside the early legends of the sport—Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Scott Molina and Scott Tinley. He won the first Wildflower triathlon in 1983, and again in 1986. He won the first USAT Long Course championships in 1983, was 8th in Hawaii in October 1982 and won several other pro races in those years. He was on the first cover of Triathlete Magazine and graced its cover one other time.
Dean started practicing law and raising a family beginning in 1987 and only competed a few times in the next 15 years, but followed the sport during those years and never gave up his subscription to Triathlete Magazine. He began competing heavily again as an age grouper in 2003 and competed in around 80 races from 2003 to 2010. During that time, he was ranked as the top male athlete in my age group in the country 3 times. He once held 10 Tri-California age group records (including Alcatraz, Wildflower, Pacific Grove and Treasure Island), won his age group in the Long Course National Championships in 2004, the Short Course Nationals in 2008, and the Short Course World Championships on the Gold Coast in Australia in 2009. He competed in several Ironman races, winning his age group in Arizona in 2005 and was third in his age group in Hawaii in 2008.
Dean has 3 children who all swam for D1 schools, with 2 of them, Greg and Shelley, highly successful members of Cal Tri who posted the fastest swim times at Collegiate Nationals in 2013.
He has coached on and off during his years as a competitive triathlete, but is now focusing on being the best coach he can be.

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John Dahlz, Assistant Coach

John “JD” Dahlz is currently a pro triathlete, the most famous John F the world has ever known, and a 28th year undergraduate pursuing a University of California, Berkeley degree in Triathlon with a double minor in Nutrition and Pacing. Recent race results suggest that he is well on his way in his studies, and will be soon pursuing advanced work in these fields. This past summer, JD placed 1st in the world-renowned Ironman Vineman Triathlon in addition to winning many other races around the California racing circuit. When you couple this with his puppy-dog personality, smile, and half Indian-half Korean genes, it is not surprising to find that JD has a massive network of connections, mostly female, in the multisport community, and they are very proud of him even when they have to patiently wait for him to recover in the med tents. As a result of all this, El Jeffe, as he is affectionately (or infamously) known, has quite the reserve of triathlon knowledge to disperse amongst his subjects.
Besides his blossoming career in the world of pro triathlon, he is our lovely, dedicated coach. Whatever your goals may be, whether it is to one day try pacing with JD himself (he’ll bite, trip, and claw you to win – watch yourself), or just keeping fit, he is here to help you reach them. He is extremely approachable, but if you are ever nervous about meeting him, bring him a platter of Nabisco products and he’ll spend the first ten minutes telling you how awesome you are and how much he loves you.
From a slightly more factual, biographical standpoint, our coach is from South San Francisco, an alumnus of St. Ignatius Prep, and a UC Berkeley graduate with a B.A. in Political Science (in addition to those aforementioned minors) in 2008. He is an accomplished triathlete, and his accolades include the 2009 Collegiate National Champion, a U23 National Team Member in 2006 and 2007, a U23 World Team Member in 2006 and 2007, a USAT Elite Development Team Member in 2008, and he trained at the Olympic Training Center from 2006-2007.
When he is not training, he loves reading, movies, playing the sax and coaching high school swimming. This year, he hopes to help the team “foster triathlon and working out as a lifestyle” and “win WCCTC and National Championship team titles”. Most of all, when asked what he would like the team to know, he replied, “I heart Cal Tri”

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Seth Davis, Assistant Coach

Seth Davis is coming up on his 13th year being a Coach for CalTri, having taking the reigns in 2000-2001 after informally coaching some fast kids he met on the track and happened to be on the team. Before he knew it, Seth was coaching swimming, brick, off track runs and destination runs and eventually had no choice but to accept an official coaching role. He has been an integral part of the team’s growth from a small club sport of 20 members to a team of nearly 200. One can be sure of Seth’s all-around awesome nature as a coach and person when considering the fact that he also coached Team in Training – the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for a few years before coming to us.
Seth’s athletic story doesn’t just stop there, however. He was a former NCAA D1 collegiate runner at the agricultural offshoot of Berkeley, and where we still import all our whole milk for the Gallon Challenge from (but that’s a whole different story…) – UC Davis. He finally released his inner desire for multisport and triathlon in 1989. As if that wasn’t enough, Seth also played Water Polo on the University of San Diego club team while attending Law School there… it kinda goes without saying at this point that although he has tried hard to conceal himself in mortal form, Seth is really a superhuman on duty for the betterment of mankind here at Berkeley and on Earth.
You will find Seth at numerous team functions, including his signature Thursday Track practice. As much as you’d love to, don’t tempt him to actually run with us or you’ll find yourself trailing in the carnage he leaves behind him as he tears up the competition. I need not remind you that Seth still runs the occasional sub-3:00 marathon and has qualified for the Xterra World Championships. His ultimate goal is to get a black shirt at the Dipsea race which he has run 12 years in a row.
When Seth gets tired of all of us hooligan collegiate triathletes, he balances a day job as the Managing Partner and owner of an international executive legal search and career coaching firm. He lives near Montclair in Oakland with his wife Jill and his beaming, seven year old son Sawyer who ran 800 meters in under 6:00 minutes when he was four. Make friends with Sawyer by saying “hi” when you see him at Track, because it won’t be long before he’s barking intervals and splits with the megaphone at you!

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Rob, Assistant Coach