Golden West History

 The Golden West Invitational: A Prep Classic

Initially conceived as a post-season Southern California invitational, and then as a Western regional meet, the Golden West Invitational debuted in 1960 as the first national prep meet since the early 1930s. After looking for a home at a number of locations in Southern California, the meet came to Sacramento in 1965 where it continues to provide the highest level of competition for the best prep athletes in the nation for the past 50 years. It is by far the longest-running post-season high school meet; the next longest are two regional meets, the Golden South in Orlando, Florida and the Great Southwest Meet of Champions in Tempe, Arizona. They have both been around for more than 30 years.

Past participants of the Golden West have represented the United States in every Olympic Games since 1964. Over 200 slots on the American Olympic teams have been filled by GWI alums. They have won ore than 90 medals, 48 of them gold. An additional nine GWI athletes have represented their native countries of France, Ireland, Trinidad & Tobago, Fiji, Jamaica and Cape Verde Islands.

  • Visit the GWI Alumni Olympians page for a complete list of GWI Olympians (updated 4/8/2019).
  • Visit the GWI Alumni Pro Football Player page to see the GWI alumni who went on to pro football careers. (Updated 7/1/2017)

How Does It Work?

The GWI is a meet built on the idea of “go for broke” competition — no heats, no trials, no team score pressures. It brings together athletes from throughout the country to a common site, where everyone experiences the same weather and the same field conditions, providing each prep athlete with an opportunity to compete at the very highest levels.

Does it Work?

The proof is in the results. Over the years many national records have been set in the GWI. Dozens of state records and uncounted personal bests have been set. View the data below to see the quality of the athletes who have competed in the Golden West Invitational and the level of the competition which they have faced.

Golden West Invitational Records

updated 7/5/2019

GWI Boys and Girls Records – Meet records for Boys since 1960 and Girls since girls events were added in 1988.

GWI Boys Top Marks – Top 10 marks and times by boys since 1960

GWI Girls Top Marks – Top 10 marks and times by girls since 1988

GWI Girls Champions – Girls year-by-year champions since 1988 

GWI Boys Champions – Boys year-by-year champions since 1960 

GWI Honor Roll – Golden West’s Hall of Fame and Special 


Est. 1960 – The Oldest Prep Meet in the U.S.

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