STATE COLLEGE “Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you,” Sam Elliot in “The Big Lebowski.”

In the Big Ten men”s gymnastics championships this past Friday, the bars definitely ate Michigan.

The Wolverines fought resiliently after woeful performances in their first two events, the parallel bars and the high bar, but the two-time defending conference champions could only retrieve second place. Michigan finished with a 216, trailing just Ohio State, which scored 217.275.

“True to form, we dug ourselves a hole, fought like hell and got out of it in real good shape,” Michigan coach Kurt Golder. “Coming away with second place after a rough first two events I was very pleased with that.”

The team was set back by some glaring errors on the bar events. With only Brad Kenna scoring above nine, Michigan began the night with a 34.9 on the parallel bars. The Buckeyes scored a 35.8 in the same event.

“Parallel bars have been inconsistent for us all year, and it”s potentially a very strong event for us,” Golder said. “We just made mistakes and we”ve got to eliminate them.”

As the team rotated to the high bar, the errors persisted.

“High bar has saved the day for us several times, but we had four mistakes out of six routines. If you do that, you”re not going to win a Big Ten championship. It”s like a miracle to end up second,” Golder said.

Michigan”s comeback was bolstered largely by sophomore Daniel Diaz-Luong, who scored at least 8.85 in all six events. The performance was strong enough to earn him third place in the all-around standings.

“I think second place is really good actually,” Diaz-Luong said. “The team got together, and we pulled through and fought all the way to the end. That”s the best we could have done.”

But the Ohio State tandem of Jamie Natalie and Ra Bhavsar, who finished first and second respectively in the individual all-around standings, was enough to make the Buckeyes better.

“I knew they were a very good team, very capable of winning,” Golder said. “They had a great meet.”

The championships for each event was decided on the second day of competition, and Michigan junior Scott Vetere won the parallel bars title. Vetere also finished second on the rings, Diaz-Luong posted a second-place score on the high bar and sophomores Jamie Hertza and Kris Zimmerman tied for second on the floor exercise.

Michigan”s hopes to carry over its strong finish into the national championships, which will take place April 5-7 in Columbus.

“I”m very proud of the way the guys fought back,” Golder said. “They have to eliminate those mistakes at nationals. I think they definitely showed themselves that they can win the championship if they eliminate those mistakes.”

As their attention shifts to the final meet, the Wolverines hope to regain a title they held two seasons ago and lost to Penn State by such a narrow margin a year ago.

“I think we”re in a really good place going into nationals,” Diaz-Luong said. “Right now we”ve got about a week and a half to train, and we are hungry for that championship title.”

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