Spring leading U.S. vaulters

Spring leading U.S. vaulters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. On Friday, Justin Spring will try to become Illinois'' first U.S. national champion when he completes the vault finals at the U.S. Gymnastics National Championships in Nashville, Tenn.

Spring scored a 9.7 on his Kasamatsu 1 1/2 vault on Wednesday to take the lead.

I''m very excited to (try to) win a national title, but in a way it will kind of be like a consolation prize if I don''t end up making it to the Olympic Trials, Spring said. Advancing to the Trials is the main goal of everyone here.

Despite outstanding performances on vault and high bar (9.6), Spring struggled to an all-around score of 53.800 and is 19th heading into Friday''s all-around finals, which decide who advances to the Olympic Trials. The top eight finishers in the all-around, plus six wild cards, advance to the Olympic qualifier.