2019 was am exciting year.

2020 is setting up to be just as awesome.

There are things to watch in nearly every season, starting right away in the new year. While more stories are sure to arise and underdogs are bound to make a splash, here are some of the main storylines to watch as 2020 gets kicked off.

Boys basketball

The boys’ basketball teams around here are looking good.

Two of our area squads have yet to lose a game: Camanche and Easton Valley. Both are coming off of highly successful 2019 seasons and returning large chunks of their roster.

Both are looking poised for deep postseasons.

Not only that, but there are more successful teams right on the fringe. Northeast has lost just two games this season, both at the hands of top ten teams (Camanche, Regina). Meanwhile, Central DeWitt’s only loss so far came to Mount Vernon, who is tabbed as the No. 4 team in the state.

The Herald will have a closer look at the mid-season break in tomorrow’s boys basketball spotlight.

Girls basketball

There is plenty to be thrilled about on the girls’ end of hoops, too.

Central DeWitt is currently ranked No. 10 in Class 3A, although some of their tougher matchups are still looming.

There are a couple teams on the outside who are looking to make a splash as the season continues. Both Northeast and Prince of Peace are hovering around the .500 mark, but have stepped up their game immensely. The Irish have only lost to ranked opponents, pulling within five of No. 13 Maquoketa Valley. Both are still looking for their breakout game.

Read more about the mid-season check of girls’ basketball teams in our spotlight on Page B4.

Wrestling

Multiple wrestlers in the area are looking to qualify when it comes time for state wrestling. Not only that, but multiple will be looking to come home with hardware.

Central DeWitt’s Keaton Zeimet has a state title on his mind this year. After going into the state tournament ranked No. 1 at his weight class before bringing home third place, he is looking to do the same.

Zeimet has not lost so far this year.

Camanche sophomore Eric Kinkaid is also a placewinner from 2019 and looking for more success. He’s joined by a slew of talented grapplers donning the Indians’ logo this year who will be looking to do the same.

He’s the only returning state qualifier for Camanche.

Clinton’s Hunter Randall will be looking for more state hardware this year as he goes for his second consecutive appearance. Randall is joined by a couple of grapplers who have made appearances in the state rankings like Kale Anderson and Trevor Bitner.

Jasper Luckritz will also be eyeing a qualifying spot with the River Kings.

Boys track

Both Northeast and Camanche are returning plenty of state running experience this year.

Each squad has a list of powerful sprinters that make up impressive relays for the Rebels and Indians, often pitted against one another in competition.

Camanche has state cross country champion Dylan Darsidan, who also qualified in the open 800 last season.

Northeast also had state placewinner Andrew Hilgendorf.

Morrison will be chasing a team title when it comes time for the Illinois High School State Track and Field Championships.

The group finished fourth last season as a team, including a state title. The entire weekend was full of adversity and injury.

They’re returning everybody to those state relay teams and will be eyeing a trophy this time around.

That group is led by Nathan Mickley, Hunter Newman, Koby Brackemeyer and a handful of other athletes who have been filling the varsity ranks for multiple years now.

Girls track

Sophomore Ellie Rickertsen and a talented group of Northeast sprinters will be looking for more success when it comes to the Blue Oval.

Rickertsen placed third in both hurdle events last year at state, also qualifying for the Drake Relays. She’s back for her sophomore campaign.

That leaves a whole roster of talent on the girls’ side, though. Neveah Hildebrandt is a two year qualifier in the 100-meter dash, and the Rebels always have competitive relays. Miya Messerich also qualifier in the 800 last year.

Camanche’s Emy Seeser will also be looking to go 3-for-3 when it comes to qualifying for state. She missed the Drake Relays by inches last year in the long jump and was just outside of placing at state in the same event.

The Illinois girls should have a number of returning qualifiers as well. Sydney Norman and Julia Lehman both qualified last year, Norman in the high jump and Lehman in the long jump. Emily Schipper is a returning 800-meter state qualifier. There were a number of other running events that came close as well.

The Steamers will be under new leadership for track season.

Tennis

Cindy Rasche and the River Queens are poised for another state run, and one full of experience this year.

Her state group, which included two doubles qualifiers for individual state, lost just one senior (Lacy Pickney) last season. She’s returning a lot of state experience to her group, including No. 1 senior Kaylee Camp and No. 2 sophomore Abby Struble.

The Queens lost just one dual match last season before losing at state, and there is no question that they’ll be another powerful force in the Mississippi Athletic Conference.

Bowling

The bowlers are looking to continue success they had last year at all our area schools.

Camanche is coming off of a double state runner-up performance last season. The girls are starting fresh with a young lineup, but the boys are returning big parts of their roster and have started off their season strong. Look to see big things from the Indians.

The River Kings and Queens are also filling into their roles nicely and looking for another sweep of qualifying berths. New head coach Shaun Hartman has seen strong performances from both rosters even early on in the season.