Photo: Karl L. Moore Norcross' Arman Rehmann (904) fights to a second place finish during the County Meet at the River Green Complex earlier this season.
Mill Creek and Norcross' boys cross country teams were first and second at the county meet earlier this season.
Just one point separated the two teams at the Coach Wood Invitational two weeks ago.
They will battle again this Saturday in the Region 7-AAAAAA championship at River Green Park in Duluth.
"We know we have to be ready for them," Mill Creek coach Andy Christie said.
The No. 2 ranked Hawks won both meets against the No. 3 ranked Blue Devils, but will battle them and No. 6 Peachtree Ridge to defend to their region crown on Saturday.
"We take pride in being in one of if not the toughest region in the state in the boys race," Christie said. "We want to defend our title, but we have a lot of respect for the other teams in our region."
Mill Creek's region title propelled the Hawks to a runner-up finish at state a year ago. They've continued their success this season by beating defending state champion Brookwood for the county title.
Norcross was runner-up at county, while Peachtree Ridge was fourth and Collins Hill was fifth. All three teams will be battle Mill Creek for the region title and try to secure a spot in the state meet next week.
"I think it's going to be a tough race," Norcross coach John Williams said. "Whoever wins will have to be on. I think Peachtree Ridge could win it. Collins Hill is running great. Anything can happen at region."
One thing that is certain is the favorite for the individual crown. Peachtree Ridge senior Josh Brickell is the two-time defending state champion and the heavy favorite to repeat as region champ.
"He's a tough runner," Williams said. "He's the two-time defending state champion. I don't see why he would not be the favorite."
The battle for second will be between Norcross' Arman Rehman, Peachtree Ridge's Kevin Mills and Mill Creek's Eric Westog. The trio finished two, three, four at county.
"Those guys look to have a firm grip on two through four," Christie said. "It just depends on the order."
The girls race features No. 4 ranked Peachtree Ridge and No. 10 ranked Mill Creek battling for the region title. Norcross' Katherine Yost, who won the county championship, is the favorite in the individual race. Yost took 10th at Coach Wood. It was the first in-state meet she's lost this year.
"Yost proved at Coach Wood if you don't show up you can be beat," Williams said.
The Region 8-AAAAAA championship will also be held at River Green Park on Saturday. The No. 2 ranked Brookwood girls will go for their fifth-straight region championship, while the No. 4 ranked Brookwood boys seek to defend their title as well.