Wheaton co-op junior David MacDonald missed out on the fun last year.
On Friday night he was right smack dab in the middle of it.
MacDonald won the all-around title with a 56.3 to lead Wheaton co-op to its second consecutive state title in the IHSA boys gymnastics team championships at Lincoln-Way East in Frankfort.
"It feels so great and I'm just honored to be a part of this team this year," MacDonald said. "We have such a great team. We bond so well. Tonight just feels great."
Not that it needed to, but Wheaton posted a season-best 161.65 to win in convincing fashion, easily finishing in front of runner-up Conant's 155.7. Stevenson snagged third place with a 151.8.
MacDonald only had the highest score in one event, scoring a 9.7 on floor, but his lowest score was still a 9.0 on vault.
"There's always room for improvement, but this was definitely a good meet," he said. "We hit a lot so I couldn't really ask for anything more."
Junior Ethan Sansone took seventh in the all-around with a 53.85. He's been part of a second-place team and back-to-back championship teams. Plus, he still has one more year of eligibility.
"It feels good to see that all our hard work and focus got us the outcome we wanted," he said. "You can't go in expecting everything to always go your way, but we did enough good things here."
Senior Danny Heller finished 20th in the all-around with a 50.05.
"We knew we didn't have to be perfect because there was a lot of pressure on us," he said. "This was the definition of team competition, because the guys pulled through. Max (Jurkowski) had our backs on bars, and that's the great thing about Friday's team competition. I love it so much. I don't even have to come back tomorrow, I'm good."
Jurkowski's 8.85 on parallel bars proved to be the team's third-best score.
"That was my best p-bar set so I was glad to hit it now," Jurkowski said. "We're all going to make mistakes, it's just a matter of picking each other up. That's what we've done all year."
MacDonald edged Hinsdale Central senior Brian Thompson 56.3 to 55.95 for the all-around title.
I was very happy, I went 6-for-6 and did as well as I think that I could've today," Thompson said. "I didn't look at the scoreboard as the meet was progressing. I just focused on my team and tried to do my best."
Junior Jack Schmidt added a 47.5 to help the Red Devils finished sixth with a 149.65.
Downers Grove North fell short of bringing home a trophy in coach Al Bekkedal's final state team appearance. The Trojans finished in seventh with a 148.95. John Schubert led the team, taking 10th in the all-around with a 51.85. Strah Sopcic tied for 14th with a 50.95.
Glenbard South junior Eugene Boguslavsky placed 21st with a 50.0.
"It went so much better than I thought when I came in here," Boguslavsky said. "I tore this hand and it's the sickest thing I've ever seen, but it was a great experience. I can't wait to come back tomorrow."
Naperville Central freshman Ryan Durkin was 23rd with a 47.95.
"I was a little nervous at first but had a lot of fun," Durkin said. "I don't think that I did that good, though, but it was fine for my first state meet."
Willowbrook sophomore Keawe Winstead was 26th with a 46.75, York sophomore Sam Bode was 27th with a 46.7, Glenbard West junior Perry Zumbrook was 28th with a 46.5 and Lake Park's Sam Flory was 30th with a 45.8.
The individual championships are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Last year Lincoln-Way co-op's Ajani Cargle won all six events, but based on this year's sectional scores, as well as Friday's all-around scores, as many as six gymnasts could be crowned champions, including MacDonald, Sansone, Thompson, Schubert and Zumbrook.