Every year, I try to figure out how teams should be seeded in the NJSIAA state tournaments. I do everything I can to base the seedings on conclusions drawn logically from team results. The real seeding committee is meeting Tuesday afternoon, and we will probably get real-time updates as the day goes on. Remember that only results through Wednesday, February 12, may be considered in the seeding process.
A reminder: These are how I think the teams should be seeded, not how I think they will actually be placed. I am including several potential at-large teams, although I do not have any information about which teams will be selected. When possible, I tried to avoid likely intra-league matchups, but it has to happen occasionally. Read on for the full lists.
You all know I love trying to figure out how teams should be seeded in the NJSIAA state tournaments. It’s a virtually impossible task (and a thankless one for those who actually have to do it) that lends itself to much debate, especially with the regionalized schedules of recent years.
I haven’t seen a lot of games or teams this year, but I’ve tried to stay on top of the goings-on, so here’s my attempt at seedings. A reminder: These are how I think the teams should be seeded, not how I think they will actually be placed. I am not including potential at-large teams. These took a while and got really complicated in the middle of the public brackets because of the lack of inter-regional play. When possible, I tried to avoid likely intra-league matchups, but it has to happen occasionally.
Post comments and suggestions below, and please use logic based in results or standings if you want to sway my opinion!
* somebody did sway my opinion, providing some additional information about the Cranford-Wall game, which was used to rank different regions. Feel free to write in with your thoughts below.
1. Delbarton (22-1) – An easy one. Unbeaten against N.J. teams since the 2010 Gordon Cup
2. Don Bosco Prep (21-2-1) – Another easy one, despite late-season slip-up against CBA
3. CBA (15-3-5) – Thought long and hard, but they just seem more dangerous than anybody else after rebounding from a rough January
4. Morristown-Beard (13-5-4) – Almost ranked them No. 3, but CBA’s February win over DBP tipped the tables
5. St. Augustine Prep (6-8-4) – Picking the mid-Gordon teams over the top non-Gordons was a tough call. Hermits’ loss to PDS came early in season, and it makes for better matchups
6. Gloucester Catholic (6-10-1) – Playing best hockey now but lost season series to St. Augustine
7. Montclair Kimberley (17-4) – Beat Pin, BE, SHP handily, lost to MB handily
8. Pingry (14-10) – Best win was against PDS, benefitted from Mtgry wins over SJMet, RBC
9. Notre Dame (20-2-2) – Lost to PDS but beat SJMet, SHP, PJ head-to-head
10. St. Joseph Metuchen (17-3-1) – Losses to ND, Mtgry, PDS; beat Rwood, SJV, PJ, StR
11. St. Joseph Montvale (16-4-2) – Lost to Rwood, 1-0-1 vs. PC
12. Paramus Catholic (18-3-3) – 0-1-1 vs. SJMont, beat MsgrF-NY
13. Red Bank Catholic (9-9-6) – Inconsistent but lost to Rid, PDS, Mtgry, PJ; tied MsgrF-NY
14. St. Peter’s Prep (6-14-2) – Lost to Lville, RBC in only games vs. NJ non-Gordon teams
15. St. Rose (17-4-2) – Lost to SJMet and three Shore C/D tms but wins vs. SJV and SHP
16. Seton Hall Prep (7-15-2) – Lost to StR, finished 3rd in National Div., beat BC head-to-head
17. Bergen Catholic (6-10) – 1-1 vs. BE/PJ but had (early) wins over SA, GC, SPP
18. Bishop Eustace (5-14-2) – Split with PJ but beat SHP, SPP
19. Pope John (7-14-2) – Beat SJV and RBC but went 0-1-1 vs. ND, struggled in Gordon
20. St. John Vianney (7-15-2) – Lost to SJMet, PJ, StR; best results came in Shore B
21. Paul VI (8-9-2) – Tied SJHam but stronger strength of schedule
22. St. Joseph Hammonton (7-4-6) – Got in via weak schedule
1. Randolph (17-1-4) – An easy choice as Mennen Division champions with non-league win over Rid
2. Morris Knolls (15-4-3) – Finished second in Mennen, beat Mtgry, Rmpo, Ten, GR
3. Morristown (18-3) – Went 3-2 vs. Mennen Div., beat Rid, Hboro
4. Ridge (15-6-2) – Went 7-0-1 down stretch in Skyland, beat MidS, RBC
5. Middletown South (15-5-2) – Best public-private result with win vs. CBA but inconsistent in losing to Rid, How, SJV
6. Montgomery (19-5) – Went 2-1 vs. Rid, 1-1 vs. BR, beat SB, Mboro, SJMet, RBC, lost to MK
7. Bridgewater-Raritan (17-5-1) – Beat West, Mnroe, OB but went just 4-3 down stretch
8. Hillsborough (11-10-2) – Good wins over BR, Cha make up for tie with OB (which lost to SJMet 0-9), but it was close
9. Ridgewood (17-5-2) – Limited good wins; lost 7-5 to SJMet
10. Westfield (11-9-3) – Beat Rbville, tied Rwood
11. Robbinsville (14-7-3) – lost to West but beat How 4-3
12. Howell (11-10-3) – lost to Rbville but beat GR, split with MidS, tied Para
13. Pascack Valley (13-7-1) – Fell behind How due to tie w. GR; beat Liv
14. South Brunswick (14-3-1) – Best of the rest despite losses to Mtgry, HV
15. Roxbury (14-7-4) – Good in Bridgewater tournament, including win vs. Hboro, but 2-3-1 record down stretch hurt chances
16. Old Bridge (13-4-5) – Finished behind SB, but tied Hboro, dropping below Rox
17. Wayne Valley (11-8-4) – Beat Rmpo for best win, tied NH; lost to Kin 1-3
18. Marlboro (13-8) – With lack of common opponents, loss to Kin 1-6 proves decisive
19. Manasquan (11-10) – Technically, playoff loss to Marlboro shouldn’t factor in, but knowing that it happened, I just couldn’t rank them in a different order
20. Livingston (12-9-2) – Beat Spa but lost to MtO
21. Montclair (10-9-3) – tied NLV head-to-head and played decent schedule but struggled in weak division
22. West Orange (14-8-2) – Head-to-head win over NLV ranked its entire division higher
23. Newton-Lenape Valley (17-4-1) – loss to WO erased wins over Lak, MtO and tie w. Mclr
24. Bernards (13-9-1) – lost to Vero, Mad but stays ahead of FL by virtue of wins over WayH, WM
25. Mount Olive (12-11-1) – beat Liv but tied Spa and lost to Ber, NLV head-to-head
26. Fair Lawn (10-12-1) – losses to Mclr, WayH, WM
27. WWPN (10-9-1) – lost to MtO, best win MidN
28. Woodbridge (10-9-1) – lost to SPF, Dem, Bay
1. Kinnelon (16-6) – The only team to beat Public A top seed Ran also split with Public A No. 2 MK and beat Rmsy, Spa, and several respectable private schools
2. Chatham (14-9-1) – Split with Kin, lost to MK twice by one goal, beat Sum, Spa, Pin, Rbville
3. Summit (17-4-2) – Beat Rid, Mah 9-1, tied BR, MidS
4. Tenafly (19-2-1) – Lost to MK 5-1, no wins outside of Big North
5. Paramus (15-5-2) – Big North Silver reg. season champion stays high despite non-league losses to Mah, Rox and tie w. How
6. Ramapo (11-3-2) – Its 4-0 win over BM and OT loss to MK helped entire region rise in seeding
7. Northern Highlands (14-6-3) – Beat Rmsy, 1-2 vs. Rmpo, and had two close losses vs. Ten
8. Ramsey (14-6-1) – Beat BM in OT, respectable in close losses to Kin (3-4) and Ran (0-3)
9. Brick Township (11-5-4) – Now you see why we highlighted others’ wins over BM; Bri 1-0-1 (1-0-2 after deadline) vs. BM with win by one goal; only significant wins were 3-1 record vs. Shore B. Went 0-1-1 vs. MidS, tied RBC.
10. Mendham (12-10-1) – Lost just 1-0 to Sum, beat John twice
11. Indian Hills (13-7-3) – Beat NLV, Ber but lost to Vero; bailed out by solid record of division teams
12. Lakeland (16-7-1) – Went 2-0 (3-0 after deadline) vs. GR to get higher seed but lost to NLV
13. Glen Rock (12-9-2) – Beat Vero, Pri; tied Ran, PkV and lost to MK only 2-1
14. Mahwah (11-8-3) – Beat Para, Reg, but lost to Sum 9-1, hurting other division teams based on comparative score vs. Men
15. Rumson-Fair Haven (15-2) – Did not play outside the Shore but went 1-1 vs. Wall, Point Pleasant
16. Wall (16-5-3) – One of top teams in tight Shore B race; loss to Cra an outlier that came without five starters
17. Nutley (13-9) – Beat John, Reg, ML and gets edge over Verona based on winning most recent head-to-head game
18. Verona (14-7-3) – Loss to GR, lack of other big results trumps win over IH
19. Point Pleasant Borough (16-3-2) – Went 1-1 against RFH, Wall, but remaining schedule was weak
20. Princeton (14-5-2) – Lost to GR, HV but beat Cra and split with Rbville
21. Hopewell Valley (11-8) – Beat SB, Pri but struggled otherwise
22. Johnson (12-8-2) – Did well enough to finish third in Union Cty but lost to Nut, Men, MidN
23. Cranford (11-8-2) – Wins over Wall, OB crucial in seeding process; lost to Pri
24. Park Regional (12-8-1) – Won Haas Division but lost to Nut, Mah
25. Wayne Hills (10-12-1) – Split with SJMont but had few other good wins; lost to Ber
26. Pequannock (13-6-4) – Lost to FrT and tied Vero but beat Spa
27. Madison (10-11) – Beat Ber, Spa but lost to John
28. Sparta (13-9-1) – Best win vs. WE; lost to Kin, Cha, Mad, Peq
It’s easy for me to lose touch with home sometimes, living in Texas and being engrossed in our soccer season. But I was jolted back tonight when I checked the Daily Record high school sports section and saw that Harry Shatel passed away on Saturday. (Daily Record article; Jane Havsy blog)
What a loss. A staggering loss. I know that whatever words I choose will ring hollow and fail to capture the magnetism and vibrancy of this great man. I know I would need weeks to research and write any sort of appropriate tribute. But I also feel a need to honor his memory and his leadership, and the best way I know how to do that is to write.
I grew up a Morristown baseball junkie. I played Morristown American Little League, I went to the Mott-Leeney baseball camp every summer, I watched Morris Majors games at Lidgerwood Park, and I dreamed of playing for Morristown High School. At Mott-Leeney, I met coach after coach from Morris County – older coaches and recent college players – who lived and breathed the game and loved teaching it to kids. I can’t help but feel that every one had been influenced significantly by Harry Shatel, just as every camper was.
I remember going to Morris County Tournament games as a kid, watching Harry give signs from deep in the dugout, seemingly in a corner so dark the opposition couldn’t see him, and I imagined myself playing for him. I always pulled hard for Morristown to come out on top and was devastated if they didn’t.
When I went to Delbarton in seventh grade, one of my biggest objections was that I wouldn’t be able to play for Coach Shatel. Of course, Delbarton provided the next best thing by installing Brian Fleury as head coach, but I couldn’t hold up my end of the bargain and ended up missing out on him too.
Nevertheless, I still maintain that the two best coaches I’ve ever had – and this is no indictment of the many great coaches I did have at Delbarton – were two I never played for: Brian Fleury and Harry Shatel. It often felt like those two men taught me more in an afternoon or over the course of a single game than I could learn anywhere else in a whole season. I cried when Coach Fleury died three and a half years ago, and I have felt the tears welling up again tonight.
After going to Delbarton, I came to know Harry Shatel not on the baseball field, but at the hockey rink. He served as an interim coach for Morristown in my first year covering Morris County hockey, and remarkably he seemed to remember me from baseball camp. When he started working as a scorekeeper and public address announcer, I had an excuse to spend long afternoons and evenings standing in the booth talking hockey, baseball, and life. To all the parents of goaltenders out there, if Harry missed a few shots here and there, it was only because he was telling a story about one of his kids or one of his former players or listening closely to a story from a visitor.
He knew every referee by name, and if he didn’t recognize them when they stepped on the ice, he made sure he knew their name by the time they had circled the ice once. He knew coaches, kids, administrators, and this was in his second sport! I know he was even more deeply connected to the fabric of baseball in Morris County and New Jersey.
While off in college and living outside New Jersey most of the time since, I have always looked forward to coming home for a few weeks in the winter and making time to go to Mennen Arena, hoping to catch up with Harry and other friends there. He would invariably greet me with a deep, friendly, comforting, growled, “Jon Yardley!” and give me a hearty handshake and pat on the back. He asked after my parents and my grades and my work, even my personal life, almost always addressing me directly by name while asking the question. He talked about his family, his trips to Florida, and of course baseball. He would always work in a question about a Rice player, to bring the conversation back to me, but the specifics really didn’t matter – we could connect talking about baseball, hockey, football, or whatever. More than anything else, he made you want to be a father and a coach, because he so reveled in the shared experiences with and accomplishments of his charges.
Those chats taught me so much. About coaching, about responsibility, about adulthood, about life. It’s corny, I know, but it’s true. I was moved by the warmth, kindness, and laughter he displayed not just once, but constantly, year after year. I feel I learned the most from using him as an example and taking implied advice from his stories. But one direct piece of advice sticks out in my memory: When I was looking for broadcasting jobs, I remember Harry telling me, “Don’t be in such a hurry to get to the top.” He was warning me that it’s easy to get caught up in the destination rather than enjoying the journey.
If anybody has enjoyed his journey, it is Harry Shatel. I and thousands of others in Morris County, New Jersey, and throughout the country are devastated by the news of his passing. But we should take comfort in the knowledge that his journey touched each of ours, and we will always be thankful for his presence in our lives.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Kitty, Bruce, and the entire family tonight. I never played for Harry Shatel, but I consider him a coach, mentor, and friend, and I miss him already.
The month of May was a good one for us down in Houston. In five games, we went 4-0-1 to run our unbeaten streak to seven games and move up to second place in the Western Conference. We had some great goals to call, too, so here are some of the highlights I got to call in May:
You may have noticed that I haven’t devoted as much time to New Jersey hockey, in terms of blogging or immediate site updates, as in years past. There are a few reasons for that, but the biggest one is that my job with the Houston Dynamo is a huge time commitment and really challenges me all the time in ways that some of my other jobs haven’t.
So I expect that in the future, I will try to keep running the site as is, with as up-to-date game schedules and results as possible, and continue writing for HNIB, but rankings and blog posts on here will come less often than in the past.
It’s an inevitable consequence of growing up, I suppose. At any rate, after the jump, I’m going to give a few updates on my work life, so if you’re curious, read on.
I got phone and e-mail updates from Saturday’s state championship tripleheader, and it sounds like I missed something special (yet again). A record crowd, even if it was for three games, and a new arena created an awesome environment and a day three teams and their fans will never forget, even if none of the games quite lived up to their billing.
I’ve been busy with my new job and whatnot, but I’ll see if I can get around to posting some final thoughts for this season and some historical perspective later this week.
For now, my Top 10
FINAL TOP 10
1. Delbarton (27-1-1)
2. St. Augustine Prep (18-7-2)
3. CBA (19-4-2)
4. Bishop Eustace (15-8-4)
5. Bergen Catholic (12-10-5)
6. Seton Hall Prep (6-10-5)
7. Don Bosco Prep (9-11-5)
8. Kinnelon (24-2-2)
9. Ridge (23-4-3)
10. Randolph (15-5-5)
In addition to these score requests, how about a hand for Hunterdon Central? After Sunday’s game with Cranford was canceled due to transportation issues, the team found a way to reschedule the game for today, even though the cancellation would have put Hunterdon Central in the playoffs. That’s classy. The move allowed Summit, whose game today was cancelled to make room, to qualify for the state tournament. Here’s hoping that even if Hunterdon Central loses, coach Chris Mikolajczyk and his team get an at-large bid.
EDIT: Cranford beat Hunterdon Central 4-1. I think every player, coach and team in the state just gained a ton of respect for Hunterdon Central with that move. Hopefully the at-large committee will follow suit.
Holy smokes, we got them! Thanks to many people, but especially Jim McConville, for catching me up with some scores.