Simone Biles

Smith vaults to early lead at US gymnastics championships

Ragan Smith looks ready to lead the next wave of U.S. women's gymnasts.

The 17-year-old took the early lead at the national championships Friday, surviving on a night when the rest of the field dealt with a fair amount of nerves. Smith posted a score of 57.400, more than a point clear of Riley McCusker. Jordan Chiles used a spectacular performance on vault to move into third place. The finals are Sunday.

Smith, an alternate on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, is the closest thing the women's program has to a star while Olympic champion Simone Biles and the rest of the "Final Five" ponder their futures. Smith seemed at ease in the spotlight. Save for a couple of...