CORVALLIS, Ore. – Incoming Oregon State freshmen Venessa and Kerissa D’Arpino finished up their outstanding prep careers at the Golden West Invitational in Northern California over the weekend, the nation's premier high school meet first held in 1960. The twin sisters from Grants Pass were the only ones to compete in each of the sprints, racing the 100m, 200m and 400m.
The pair finished closely in each, with the largest difference – four tenths of a second – coming in the 400m. Venessa came in fifth overall out of 37 total entries in the 100m (12.02) and Kerissa was not far behind in sixth 12.06. Venessa and Kerissa finished sixth (24.852) and seventh (24.857) in the 200m out of a field of 43. In the 400m, Venessa was second overall crossing the line in 55.54 and Kerissa was third in 55.99.
After a one-year stopover in Berkeley, the Golden West Invitational returned to Sacramento. The 55th annual track and field competition was held Saturday, June 28, at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium following the conclusion of the final USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships event.
The Golden West Invitational began in 1960 in Los Angeles. The event moved north five years later and was held at various sites around the Sacramento region from 1965 through 2012, including Hornet Stadium. High school athletes and juniors (those who did not turn 20 by June 28, 2014) were eligible to compete in the Golden West Invitational.
The GWI has a remarkable legacy. GWI participants have represented the USA in every Olympic Games since 1964 with more than 90 medals, including 48 gold.
Two of the more accomplished female sprinters in Oregon history, the D’Arpinos led North Valley HS to its first-ever state track and field championship in late May.
Kerissa won the 100m 4A title with a new meet record and one of the fastest times ever run by an Oregon woman in the prep ranks, a wind legal 11.94a. She also took home the 200m title in 24.34, finished second in the 400m (55.63) and ran the second leg of North Valley’s winning 4x100m relay squad, which crossed first in 49.23.
Venessa won the 400m in 55.36, was second in the 100m (12.00) and 200m (24.42), and ran the anchor leg of the aforementioned winning 4x100m team. Venessa and Kerissa accounted for 64 of North Valley’s 65 points (including the relay).