Welcome back, Wolverines.

After more than a month on the road, the No. 1 Michigan men’s gymnastics team returned to Cliff Keen Arena and its dominant ways Saturday night, beating No. 6 Illinois 216.35-212.5.

In their final home meet of the season, the Wolverines sent their three seniors – Andrew Elkind, Justin Laury and Aaron Rakes – out in style.

“It definitely hasn’t sunk in,” Rakes said. “It went quick, much quicker than I thought. Everybody’s right – time flies. I wish we could have had more home meets. They’re a lot more fun than away meets.”

For the first time in a year and a half, Laury competed in the all-around, finishing second to Illinois’ Wes Haagensen. He also won the high-bar title (9.25). Laury had been held out of the floor lineup all year to limit pounding on his knee, but when sophomore Jamie Thompson injured his knee in Wednesday’s practice, a spot opened up for Laury to compete in his sixth event.

Rakes notched the second-highest Michigan score on rings, while Elkind turned in a solid performance on all four of his events, tying with freshman Mel Santander for the parallel-bars title (9.15).

Rather than floor exercise, the key to Saturday’s victory was the team’s usual adversary, pommel horse. After the floor squad posted a 37.80 overall score, all six gymnasts turned in hit routines on pommel horse, building an insurmountable lead. Freshman David Chan won the event with a nearly flawless 9.0 set, his first hit in competition.

“The performance on horse was fantastic,” said sophomore Scott Bregman, who won his second-straight Newt Loken award with a 9.65 routine on floor. “Floor was fantastic, and the (rest) of the meet was a struggle. Horse is the most important for us right now, because we know we can do p-bars and high bar a lot better, and we have. It was good to get that (showing) on horse.”

Despite struggles on vault and high bar, the substantial early lead proved enough to last through the whole meet.

The boisterous Cliff Keen crowd, almost at capacity despite a CCHA playoff hockey game just across the parking lot, got a big scare during Michigan’s final event, high bar. Sophomore Joe Catrambone peeled off the apparatus after hitting his release and landed on his back, his left side going numb. He was unable to finish the routine but was OK following the meet.

But senior co-captains Laury and Elkind finished the rotation in strong fashion. Laury hit his three consecutive release skills to huge cheers, and Elkind closed the seniors’ final home meet with a stuck landing.

“I was so exhausted,” Elkind said. “It felt like the most draining meet I’ve experienced thus far. When I finished my high bar routine, I just looked around, tried to take it in a little bit. But it still feels like this is my home, and it’s in my blood, not going anywhere.”

The Wolverines will have little time to let their last home meet sink in. Michigan will need to have everyone in top form next week at No. 3 Ohio State, and suddenly gymnasts are dropping like flies.

Thompson will be out until the Big Tens because of his knee injury; Bregman strained a ligament in his ankle Saturday night on vault and Catrambone may need a week off, too.

Nonetheless, after this performance, the Wolverines seem to be back on track.

“I really think we’re back on the way up,” Laury said. “At the beginning of the season, everyone was like, ‘Wow, where’s Michigan coming from?’ And then it tapered off a little bit. . I think we’re getting ready for our second surge, and we’re going to take it all the way to the Big Tens and NCAAs, and come home with a ring.”

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