Although the fall season is still wrapping up, winter teams have begun practicing.

We have one football team left (Skaneateles), along with one runner (Jenna Morris, Moravia) and one swimmer (Lily Buchholz, Skaneateles) headed to their respective state meets. Obviously, we'll be following those stories as they continue over the next couple weeks and follow it up with our seasonal all-stars.

But why not look ahead to the winter? Here are some storylines to follow over the next few months:

Defending state champions: Moravia boys basketball and Skaneateles girls hockey will look to make long playoff runs again this winter.

The Blue Devils, after multiple trips to the state final four in the past decade, finally took home their first state championship by beating Lake George last March. Moravia will be without The Citizen's 2016 basketball player of the year Gabe Short as well as a couple more seniors from that squad.

The Lakers also have high expectations coming into the season. Skaneateles went undefeated and never trailed on their way to another state championship last year, but will also deal with its share of departures.

Cayuga County basketball tournament: Every year Port Byron, Southern Cayuga, Union Springs and Weedsport get together at Cayuga Community College to crown a county champion.

The Warriors won both the boys and girls tournaments last season.

This year the tournament will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 27 and Thursday, Dec. 28. Southern Cayuga opens up against Weedsport and Port Byron plays Union Springs on Wednesday, with the winners playing Thursday.

While I've written previous columns about how I'd like to see the tournament expanded to include Cato-Meridian and Moravia, the tournament is still very fun as is.

Auburn vs. Skaneateles boys hockey: One of the most heated rivalries returns on Wednesday, Nov. 22 at Casey Park in the season-opener for both teams.

The Maroons and Lakers also meet at Allyn Arena on Jan. 12. Skaneateles swept the season series last year with a 9-0 win over Auburn at home and a 7-4 victory on the road on the way to a Section III, Division II championship.

This year might not be as one-sided though, as the Lakers graduated their top six scorers from last season.

Wrestling participation numbers: The decline in the amount of local wrestlers has been slow but steady.

Teams like Skaneateles, who had eight wrestlers with 20 or more wins last season, had eight seniors graduate and there aren't a lot of experienced wrestlers to replace them.

With many of our local schools struggling to fill out the weight classes for a chance to win dual meets, more emphasis will be put on individual achievement.

Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.

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