The Metro League's coaches have been saying it for years.
The state playoff results have been saying it.
As I run around like a crazy person trying to cover all the playoff games I can get to during the school year, I know I've been saying it.
And now, the numbers say it yet again in black and white - the Metro League is the toughest Class 6A league in the state.
Looking back on the recently-completed 2010-
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11 season, the numbers spoke with unprecedented clarity about the Metro League's superiority. In statistics regarding the eight team sports that use RPI rankings (the numbers were provided courtesy of Gresham Outlook Sports Editor David Ball) the Metro's dominance was undeniable.
In those eight team sports (boys and girls soccer, volleyball, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball), Metro League teams went 17-8 in the first year of Class 6A state Play-In games - good for a state's best .680 winning percentage.
The Three Rivers League, bolstered this year by the addition of Canby and subtraction of Milwaukie and Rex Putnam, was a close second in Play-In victories and percentage, going 16-9 for a .640 winning percentage. After that, only District 2 had a winning record in Play-In games at 6-5.
But wait, there's more. Much more.
Once the rest of the Metro League teams joined the Play-In winners in the postseason, the results were even more dramatic. In the 32-team playoff brackets for the eight aforementioned sports, Metro League teams went a combined 67-24 (a .736 winning percentage) and really distanced themselves from the rest of the state.
The Three Rivers League dropped off to 29-34 in the 32-team playoff brackets (.460), while District 2 moved to 15-19 (.441). District 1 was the best of the state's other leagues in playoff performance (not including Play-In games) at 35-41 (.461).
In overall playoff performance (Play-In games plus 32-team playoff bracket results), the Metro League's dominance was even more pronounced, checking in at 84-32 (.724). The Three Rivers League was second-best overall at 45-43 (.511), followed by District 2 at 21-24 (.467), District 1 at 48-55 (.466), the Pacific Conference at 47-62 (.431), the Central Valley at 33-49 (.402), and the Mount Hood at 32-50 (.390).
There was more evidence supporting the Metro League's claim to dominance too. As the OSAA seeded teams into those 32-team playoff brackets, Metro teams won No. 1 seeds in 13 instances. District 1 won the next-most top seeds with seven, followed by the Pacific's five, and District 2's four.
And finally, in the most telling stat of the year, of the eight team sports affected by RPI rankings, Metro teams won six state championships - Jesuit in both girls and boys soccer (where Beaverton had to win a Play-In game just to reach the 32-team bracket, then played all the way to the state championship game), Aloha in football, Jesuit in both boys and girls basketball, and Westview in baseball.
The only holdouts among team sports came in volleyball - where Central Catholic beat Jesuit - and in softball - where Century won its first-ever state crown by beating McNary.
And remember, the results listed above only detailed the Metro's success in team sports.
Take a quick look back at the individual sports contested during 2010-11 and the Metro League's preeminence becomes even more obvious. Jesuit's girls won their ninth straight title in cross country in the fall season, while in the winter, Sunset's boys and Jesuit's girls swept the team championships at Class 6A state swimming.
In the spring season, Jesuit's boys won a third straight state tennis crown, Jesuit's boys took top honors at state golf, Sunset's boys broke through to win at state track, and Jesuit's girls won a second consecutive track crown.
Finally, just to add insult to the injury the Metro's best inflicted on the rest of the state this year, Lincoln's girls tennis team - added to the Metro League just this year - broke through to win the state crown over Jesuit.
In total, of the 19 OSAA-sanctioned high school championships held in 2010-11, Metro teams won 13.
Congratulations Metro. It was quite a year.