Southern Oregon has been home to many prominent wrestling duals over the years, mostly thanks to the history of programs like Crater, Eagle Point...
MERLIN — There's fast and then there's the D'Arpino twins.
North Valley High's Kerissa and Venessa D'Arpino are unmatched in the sprints in Class 4A and have only a handful of challengers across all classifications in Oregon.
The D'Arpinos, who are juniors, have the two fastest times among every runner in the state — all classes — in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. And they have two of the top three in the 400. At one point last week, the sisters had the fastest times in all three events.
They already are ahead of the Class 4A 100-meter state-meet record of 12.24 seconds, which is held by a pair of runners. Kerissa has clocked 12.17 and Venessa 12.20
Ellannee Richardson's state-meet record of 25.01 in the 200 could fall, as Venessa has recorded a 24.96, while Kerissa is right behind at 25.08.
Kerissa holds the school record in the 100, while Venessa holds the school record in the 200 and 400. At least for now.
Neither of them intends to give an inch to the other.
At the Douglas County Icebreaker on March 14, Kerissa set the school record in the 400 with a time of 57.91. She held it for just a couple minutes, as Venessa proceeded to break it in her heat with a time of 57.43. Those times were later adjusted to 58.14 and 57.64, respectively, to correct for hand-time deviation.
"We were mean to each other last year," Kerissa D'Arpino said. "But it's better this year. If one of us gets it, then the other one gets it next time."
That doesn't mean this friendly rivalry isn't without it's share of trash talk.
"We always high-five at the end," Venessa D'Arpino said. "But we're always, 'Yeah, I got it this time' or 'It sucks to be you.'"
Kerissa struggled with a calf injury during much of last season, while Venessa's recovery from an ankle injury hampered her ability to run her best.
Despite the setbacks, Kerissa took second place at state in the 200 and third in the 100, while Venessa was third in the 200 and fourth in the 100. They also teamed with then-seniors Makayla Sanders and Kylie Baker to take second in the 400-meter relay.
The expectations this year are simple: win a championship.
The D'Arpinos, normally three-sport athletes, gave up basketball this year to train with Terry Guthrie during the winter in hopes of reaching those elusive state titles.
"We're hoping to bring one of our relays (to state) and then go 100, 200 and 400," Venessa D'Arpino said.
Kerissa D'Arpino points out the difficulty of such a feat.
"Most girls don't get it," she said, "because it's one of the hardest combinations."
They will team with Kaitlyn Bell and Maddison Lee in the 400 relay this year.