Simone Biles is on top in US gymanstics championships

HARTFORD — Simone Biles grabbed the early lead in the US women’s gymnastics championships.

The 16-year-old from Texas put together an all-around score of 60.500 on Thursday in the opening round, well ahead of returning Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross.

Ross, who helped the US women win the team gold in London last summer, was second at 59.750. Brenna Dowell was third, followed by Peyton Ernst and Maggie Nichols.


McKayla Maroney, who won two medals in London, posted the highest score on vault in her first major competition since undergoing a series of leg surgeries last fall. Maroney averaged 15.5 on her two vaults, edging Biles by a tenth of a point.

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While ‘‘Fierce Five’’ teammates Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, and Aly Raisman took a break following their dominant performance in London, Maroney and Ross are already back at work.

For Ross, nationals are little more than a warm-up for the world championships in Belgium in October. Barring an injury, her place on the four-person roster is set.

There’s much more at stake for Biles. She breezed through uneven bars, avoided any major miscues on the beam, and posted a 15.050 on the floor, the highest score of the night.

While Maroney is considered the best vaulter of her generation, Biles outscored Maroney on the Amanar — the most difficult vault in competition — putting up a 15.8 to Maroney’s 15.7.