Norcross cross country coach John Williams gave his team the weekend off last week.
The way his boys have been running early this season, they deserved the break. The Blue Devils won the Mercy Invitational and were third at the UGA Invitational.
"We never run them more than two meets in a row," Williams said. "It gives us a chance to recover."
Williams will get to see where his team stands among the state's best this weekend at the Carrollton Invitational. Three-time defending state champion Brookwood will be at the meet in what could be a sneak preview of the state meet later this season. The meet will also feature No. 1-ranked Mill Creek, which was last year's region champ and runner-up at state.
"We don't look at it that way that we have to win this meet in order to be successful later," Williams said.
No. 5-ranked Norcross is coming off a third-place finish at last year's state meet, which was its highest in the last 25 years.
"Hopefully, we can extend on last year's performance," Williams said.
The Blue Devils had four runners in the top 10 at the Mercy Invitational to beat Marist, the No. 1 ranked team in Class AAAA. They put four runners in the top 25 at the UGA Invitational, which was a three-mile course, to finish third behind No. 3-ranked Peachtree Ridge and Marist.
"This is what we had in mind for them when they came in as freshmen," Williams said. "We thought they would come in and change things at Norcross as far as being true runners."
Arman Rehmann has been Norcross' top runner. The senior was second at the Mercy Invitational with a personal-record time of 16 minutes, 4.70 seconds and was third at the UGA Invite.
"He's one of the hardest working kids I know," Williams said. "He really wants to get better. I think his attitude and leadership have been great on the other guys."
Seniors Nick Delguercio, Sam Todd, Jacob Winters, Matthew Sutton, Jonathan Hooper, Austin Gusmerotti, junior Miles Green and sophomores Chris Delguercio and Steven Chevrier round out the lineup for the Blue Devils.
Saturday's meet in Carrollton will be a good gauge for the top teams heading into the Gwinnett County Championships on Sept. 14.
"We look at every meet as a way to improve," Williams said. "Our goal is to get better each week and improve our top 12."