Mill Creek's boys track and field team beat defending state champion Brookwood two weeks ago in a meet.
The Hawks are looking for a similar result this week, but the stakes are higher.
Mill Creek will try to dethrone Brookwood at the Gwinnett County championship hosted by the Hawks on Monday and Wednesday. A win could be a sign of good fortune for the Hawks later this season.
"We look at county as a good indicator of where we'll be in April and May," Mill Creek coach Rik Moore said. "State champs come out of Gwinnett County. So if you do well in the county meet, you'll know where you need to be at sectional at state time. We're looking for good competition."
Gwinnett has won the last four boys state championships in the highest classification. Mill Creek placed second at county last year and third at state behind Brookwood. The Hawks return a trio of standout sprinters in Michael Cheeks, Devozea Gaines and Jacorey Lewis and have two strong distance runners in Tyler Woodrom and Eric Westog.
"I think we might have a little better shot this year," Moore said. "Brookwood lost a lot from last year. It's a good matchup."
Brookwood and Parkview are the only two schools to win the county championship the last 10 years.
Brookwood returns some major point scorers in Jay Lawson, Josh Ingalls, Bailey Vitatoe and Chris Powell.
"Brookwood is still strong in a lot of events, though," Moore said.
Mill Creek won the Jerry Arnold Challenge two weeks ago, beating Brookwood by 20 points. Peachtree Ridge, Norcross and Collins Hill also finished in the top six, which could make this year's county meet a tight race.
"It might be the lowest scoring meet we've had in a while. The points will be spread out," Moore said.
In the girls meet, Peachtree Ridge is the two-time defending champion. The Lions graduated their three major point scorers from last year's team and are looking to fill those holes.
"We graduated some pretty good athletes last year," Peachtree Ridge coach Ron Clanton said. "We are not exactly there yet, but we should be in the mix."
Brookwood and Mill Creek appear to be the favorites on paper. The Hawks won the Jerry Arnold Challenge by 22 points over Brookwood. Archer, Norcross and Grayson also have the ability to score some points.
"Throughout the county, there's so many question marks," Clanton said. "It could be up for grabs."