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Natalie Ehlinger takes a swing during a game in 2019. She suffered a knee injury during the 2019 season but coach Nicole Snyder is looking for Ehlinger’s senior leadership in 2020.

The volleyball and cross country seasons get under way this week.

Maquoketa Cardinals volleyball coach Nicole Snyder said her team is going to have only two front-row players this year. But the team will be “really good in the back row. We have a lot of quickness this season.” 

Snyder expects senior Natalie Ehlinger to rejoin the team soon; Ehlinger suffered a knee injury last season but would help in the front row, the coach said. 

“The WaMaC will be a tough conference again this season as it is every season that I can remember,” said Snyder, who expects her team to be competitive in the WaMaC this season.

Meanwhile, Easton Valley River Hawks volleyball coach Denise Larson starts her 33rd year as the volleyball coach at Preston/Easton Valley. 

The River Hawks must replace eight seniors who saw most of the playing time last season. 

“It might take a couple of meets to figure out who we are. We have 16 bodies that we can pick and choose from,” Larson said. “We don’t have a go-to person yet. Everyone has a different skill set so we have a lot of options at the start of the season.” 

The Tri-Rivers Conference should be a very tough conference again this season. 

Back in Maquoketa, cross country coach Rob Dennis said he is very excited to get the season started this year. 

“We have decent numbers this season on both the boys and girls side. We are going to be really young on the boys side, but we should compete this season,” Dennis said. 

“Having a junior high program has sparked interest in the sport and coach Devin Hardin has a lot to do with that. Hardin and myself get along great so everything just flows.” 

Maquoketa will host its first home cross country meet since 1995 beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the high school.