Phoebe Mills shares the lead, but she won't be coasting into Saturday's optional competition in the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
"If you don't score a 10 on each event, then you try to keep improving," Mills said Thursday after she tied Hope Spivey following the compulsory competition."I'm just trying to stay in shape and keep myself sharp."
Mills of Houston and Spivey of Allentown, Pa., each had 46.5 total scores to lead the women's division.
Salt Lake's Melissa "Missy" Marlowe was tied for seventh with a 45.90 score.
Dan Hayden of Amherst, N.Y., aided by a perfect 10 on the parallel bars, took the men's lead.
"I was real psyched up going for the P-bars," he said. "I was ready to go up and get a 10."
Hayden had a combined score of 58.75 after the six events and Charles Lakes of Newhall, Calif., was in second place with a 58.25 score.
"Compulsories are usually my forte," Hayden said. "I have to keep my consistency up. I've upgraded my optionals and its about even now."
The first round of the men's optionals will be held tonight and the all-around champions will be determined in both men's and women's divisions on Saturday.
Individual championships will be determined on Sunday.
Lakes figured Hayden would be the early leader.
"Coach (Dan Connally) and I knew that Dan would be my primary competition," Lakes said. "We tried to narrow it down because Dan's so good in the compulsories and I'm better in the optionals."
University of Oklahoma senior Kelly Garrison-Steves, was third in the women's division with a 46.32, followed by Doe Yamashiro of Gardena, Calif., 46.26, and Stacey Gunthorpe of Huntington Beach, Calif. and Brandy Johnson of Houston, tied for fifth with 46.02 scores.
"I was very pleased with my beam and overall, too," Spivey said.
Mills, the top rated women's gymnast in the U.S., said the Houston fans spurred her on.
"It feels like everyone is for you," Mills said. "I live here now. It feels like home."
Defending national champion Kristie Phillips, also of the Karolyi Gym, was in 10th place.
Phillips is struggling to regain top form after temporarily leaving Karolyi's gym.
"I'm just going to keep a good, clear mind and go do the best I can," she said.
University of Nebraska teammates Kevin Davis and Tom Schlesinger finished third and fourth with scores of 58.10 and 57.75 and UCLA's Curtis Holdsworth was fifth at 57.60.
Hayden tied for first in floor exercise, tied for second in pommel horse and still rings, and finished second in horizontal bars.
His lowest individual finish was a tie for 10th in vault.
Hayden finished fourth in the 1988 American Cup all-around competition and was eighth in the U.S.-Soviet dual meet.
Tim Daggett, a 1984 Olympian, finished last in the compulsories, skipping the vault event in which he suffered a severely broken leg in the World Championships last November.
Daggett's best scores were a 9.85 on parallel bars and a 9.7 on the pommel horse.
"Everything hurts, but I've accepted it's not going to be pain free," Daggett said. "I couldn't be more pleased but there's so much nervousness.