The IHSA boys state gymnastics meet isn't scheduled until May 10-11, but many of the best teams in the state were in Roselle on Friday for Lake Park's Ralph Krupke Invitational.
That included defending state champion Wheaton Warrenville co-op, which was at the top of its game, scoring a season-best 154.12 points to cruise to victory.
Stevenson was a distant second place despite scoring an impressive 146.925 to clip third-place Mundelein's 146.85. Downers Grove North was fourth with a 146.525, and Conant was fifth with a 145.1.
"We've been at this invite for many years where you could count on one or maybe two teams making it to the state meet," Mundelein coach Jesse Piland said. "This was by far the most powerful Lake Park invite we've ever been to, and I told our guys before the meet that we'll know where we stack up after tonight."
Despite the strong team efforts of Stevenson, Mundelein, Downers Grove North and Conant, they were all left in awe of a Wheaton Warrenville co-op powerhouse that won by more than 7 points even though it was without standout all-arounder Ethan Sansone.
David MacDonald's lowest score of the evening came on high bar, where he had a 9.3. He finished with a 56.6 in the all-around while winning pommel horse, still rings, vault and parallel bars.
"The team just did great and we had our best routines on rings and floor tonight," MacDonald said. "We just all hit today. I'm just really happy we came here and were able to win another meet."
The supporting cast was nearly as impressive. Danny Heller offered a 9.3 on floor and 8.8 on high bar, Lucas Cooperman maneuvered his way to a 9.05 on floor, Ryan Kehoe had an 8.72 on vault, Max Jurkowski scored an 8.6 on parallel bars while Ben Marston had a 7.9 and Mike Rumaro contributed an 8.15 on still rings.
"We work really hard in practice and it shows, but we still have a lot of work to do," Rumaro said. "Each meet we figure out what we need to work on more and then we come back from practice and do better the next time out."
Mundelein compared well, however. Colin McCarty led the way, winning floor exercise with a 9.7 and high bar with a 9.4 while teammate Cameron Mueller placed second on vault with a 9.3. McCarthy was also second in the all-around with a 54.25.
Stevenson's Arie Feltman-Frank led the Patriots into second place, taking fourth in the all-around with a 51.4.
"It's means a lot to finish second," he said. "At the beginning of the season, we weren't sure if we'd do good or not because we're such a small team, We really put it all together today and now have a possibility of going to state."
Feltman-Frank was also fourth on high bar with a 9.1 and second on pommel horse with a 9.1. Teammate Jacob Guth placed fourth on parallel bars with an 8.7.
"My highlight today was probably pommel horse," Feltman-Frank said. "I hit a great routine and then overall I was hoping to place in the top five and got fourth so that was very good."
Downers Grove North's Strah Sopcic and John Schubert finished in third and fifth place, respectively, in the all-around with a 51.475 and 50.65 to help the Trojans place fourth.
Joey Mauk had four top-five finishes, including second place on parallel bars with a 9.45 to pace Conant. Brian Reedy was the Cougars' top all-arounder with a 48.65 to help the team place fifth.
"We're not even worried about Wheaton and not trying to catch them," Piland said. "The thing that surprised me most is that Stevenson is now a major player again and that's huge for their program and were excited to be a part of it."
Glenbard South took sixth with a 135.41. Eugene Boguslavsky was third on floor with a 9.45, and Eli Qahhaar was fifth on vault with a 9.2.
The host Lancers were seventh with a 133.8. Mac Allen took second on still rings with a 9.4, and Sam Flory was third on pommel horse with a 9.
"I still think we're a state contender," Flory said. "We're just making too many small mistakes. We're not making huge ones, but those small ones add up and we need to correct them."
Willowbrook took eighth place and was followed by Hinsdale South, Rolling Meadows, Naperville North and Fenton.