The Metro League as we once knew it may very well return to its original roots come 2018.
The Beaverton area-centric conference, which has added Century, Glencoe and Liberty over the past three years, could shed all three Hillsboro schools due to changes in the Class 6A landscape, leaving Metro once again an all-Beaverton-area schools.
The Oregon Schools Activities Association Classification and Districting Committee, which has been working since October 2016 on its quadrennial rearrangement of the state's high school sports leagues, held its 10th public meeting on June 20 and released its report from that meeting on June 29.
While the committee's work is not yet done — the group will meet again at 9 a.m. Aug. 28 and Sept. 25 at the OSAA offices, 25200 S.W. Parkway Avenue, Suite 1 in Wilsonville — it seems clear that the committee now is fine-tuning its proposal for the 2018-22 time block.
The latest model forwarded by the committee features six classifications, with 56 Class 6A teams divided among seven leagues. The OSAA's report from its June 20 meeting again emphasized the Classification and Districting Committee's "broad support for the six"classification system," while earlier proposals had considered reducing the number of classifications to five and arranging football leagues separately.
Further, until the OSAA gets new enrollment numbers in the fall, it will continue to work with the current cutoff points — schools at the Class 6A level must have 1,194 students or more, or must choose to "play up" — as it arranges the state's high school leagues.
Metro would add new school Mountainside to its ranks while moving Century, Glencoe and Liberty out to the Pacific Conference. For fans of the old Metro who preferred the Beaverton-only league this reset is a heartening development. But, the Hillsboro trio of high schools has been a welcomed addition to Metro — maybe more than many anticipated when they joined the conference. Century sports one of the best wrestling programs in the state and often fought it out with Aloha for district bragging rights. The Jaguar football team, coached by the well-respected Bill Smith, is a tough opponent from week-to-week. And its baseball team could tussle with any of the Beaverton-area titans. Glencoe and Liberty found it tougher to compete against the Beaverton powers, but still cultivated success in boys and girls soccer, volleyball and boys and girls basketball. Metro will always be considered Oregon's best league from top-to-bottom across the board in athletics, but losing the Hillsboro schools would still be a slight blow, especially without any juggernauts slated to join the district.
Under the latest proposal, known as "Draft No. 18," the next iteration of the Metro League could include the following schools (their current attendance numbers are in parentheses): Aloha (1,784); Beaverton (1,654); Jesuit (1,294) Mountainside (TBD); Southridge (1,614); Sunset (2,123); and Westview (2,508).
If adopted, this proposal would move Oregon City into the TRL from the Mount Hood Conference, while moving Newberg and Sherwood out to the reconstituted Pacific Conference.
The most recent draft prior to this, known as Draft No. 16, would have included Canby, Clackamas, Lake Oswego, Lakeridge, Oregon City, Sherwood, St. Mary's Academy and West Linn in the Three Rivers League.
Around the rest of the state, Draft No. 18 — if adopted — would bring about the following changes:
The Portland Interscholastic League would remain the same, with four of its nine teams electing to "play up." The new version of the Pacific Conference would include Century, Forest Grove, Glencoe, Hillsboro, Liberty, Newberg and Sherwood.The Mount Hood Conference would add Sandy — currently a Class 5A school — to its ranks while moving Oregon City to the Three Rivers League. The Greater Valley Conference would move Forest Grove and North Salem out, Forest Grove heading to the Pacific Conference and North Salem down to the Class 5A Mid-Willamette Conference. And the Southwest Conference would add Bend, Mountain View and Summit.
Miles Vance of the West Linn Tidings contributed to this story.