Wagner leads US nationals after short program

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Greensboro, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Ashley Wagner has her eyes on a third national title after a big win in the women's short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Wagner, who won consecutive national titles in 2012-13, earned 72.04 points for her performance Thursday night and leads defending champion Gracie Gold by 5.02 points.

The competition ends with Saturday's free skate.

"One down. One to go," Wagner tweeted shortly after the last of the 22 skaters was finished.

Gold won last year's title at the age of 18 and finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics. She and Wagner both won bronze medals as part of the U.S. team in Russia.

Polina Edmunds, who finished second to Gold at nationals last year and ninth at the Olympics, was in third place after Thursday's short program with 66.04 points.

Mirai Nagasu, the 2008 champion and last year's bronze medalist at nationals, was in fourth with 65.28 points.