With three first-place votes and a 10-2 record, the Phillipsburg Stateliners have finished 2023 as the top team in the Big Central Media Poll.
P’burg was the preseason No. 1, as well, and held the position until a late-September loss to Hillsborough in the Rumble on the Raritan. The Stateliners’ only other loss came in the North 2, Group 5 final to Union City; they came back to beat Easton on Thanskgiving, the first time they’ve beaten the Red Rovers back-to-back since 2002 and 2003.
St. Thomas Aquinas finished second in the final media poll, three points behind Phillipsburg. The Trojans (10-1) got two first-place votes. They finished the regular season undefeated with a Thanksgiving Eve victory at Immaculata, their only loss coming to DePaul in the Non-Public B semifinals.
Ridge – which finished 8-2 and made it to the North 2, Group 4 semifinals – came in third, whiel National Silver Champion North Brunswick (8-1) finished fourth.
Coming in fifth is Bernards (12-1), which set a program record for wins and took home its first-ever state sectional title three weeks ago when the Mountaineers rallied to beat Lakeland in overtime for the North 2, Group 2 Championship. They were also Patriot Gold Division Champions.
The bottom five includes Sayreville (8-3) in sixth, Hillsborough (8-3) at No. 7, Liberty Silver Division winner Montgomery (8-1-1) at eight, followed by Watchung Hills (8-3) and St. Joseph-Metuchen (7-3) at nine and ten.
Summit, Hillside, and Westfield also received votes.
Below is the full Final Big Central Media Poll for 2023: