Three points decided a swimming and diving meet three weeks ago between the Brookwood and Mill Creek girls teams, who both expect a similarly close finish at Saturday's swimming finals of the Gwinnett County Championships.
Brookwood won the matchup earlier this month, 156-153, by holding off a rising Mill Creek program. The Broncos are still the proven power, having won county 10 of the past 12 years, but their biggest tests lately have come from the Hawks.
Mill Creek upset Brookwood at county two years ago, stopping a six-year streak by the Broncos.
"Our kids are excited about the meet," Mill Creek coach Rick Creed said. "We're hoping to give Brookwood a run for it again."
Two of the main contributors from that 2010 Mill Creek championship are back in Rachael Dudley and Frederique Lefebvre. Both are title contenders in individual events and leaders of a team with the goal of winning county a second time.
Brookwood, led by Kelsey Gouge and Rachel Muller, answered Mill Creek's win with another county title last season. The Broncos, a deep team like Mill Creek, will rely on Gouge and Muller, who have the county's top time this season in three events each, for a repeat championship.
"I expect the county championship meet will also be very close between (the Brookwood and Mill Creek girls)," Brookwood coach Greg Puckett said. "It may very well come down to which team is more successful in relays. With so many strong girls teams, our relays could finish anywhere from first to fifth depending on which relays the various teams decide to make their strongest."
Peachtree Ridge and Parkview also are considered favorites to finish high in the girls standings, but they are considered longshots because of the depth of Brookwood and Mill Creek.
While the girls team title chase will be interesting, there may not be much drama on the boys side.
Parkview, winners of 17 of the past 20 county meets, are the heavy favorites both at county and at the upcoming state meet. The Panthers have the county's top diver in Sean Piner and a deep team led by Ricky Lehner and Geoffrey Carter. They also got an offseason boost with the transfer of Devyn Hughes from Greater Atlanta Christian.
"I'd say (the Parkview boys) are really unbeatable right now," Creed said.
With depth being the key factor at county, Collins Hill is expected to present the biggest challenge to Parkview. Brookwood, Mill Creek and North Gwinnett also have strong teams.
"We've got a great boys team," Parkview coach Jack Gayle said. "But when you swim in a place like Gwinnett County, you can never turn your backs. We've got Brookwood, Collins Hill, Mill Creek and those guys right behind us."
West Gwinnett Aquatic Center in Norcross hosts Saturday's swimming finals, beginning at 5 p.m.