Area gymnasts scored high yesterday in the preliminary rounds of the Capital Cup women's gymnastics tournament at Montgomery College in Rockville.

The invitational features top-ranked gymnasts from the eastern United States. The finals begin at 2:30 p.m. today.

Cheryl Kaneshiro of Rockville gained the finals in the floor exercise, uneven bars and vault. She scored 9.5 in the vault; her specialty is the uneven bars, and in that event, she failed to complete a giant and was graded at a disappointing 9.1.

Marni Rager of Silver Spring had a 9.2 for the floor exercise and an unexpectedly strong 9.65 on the parallel bars. She scored 36.7 overall, tied for best with Stacey Gunthorpe of the Bridgettes.

Kaneshiro's overall score was 36.55, placing her third, followed by Tracy Calore of the Parkettes, Allentown, Pa., 36.4.

Highly regarded Amy Appler of Reading, Pa., made the finals in only two events, the floor exercise and the balance beam.

Another top competitor, Tracy Hinkle of the Allentown Parkettes, was injured on the beam, her first event, and will not compete today. Her absence could be felt by the Parkettes, considered the strongest team in the meet.

Susie Silverman of the host Marvateens reached the rank of elite gymnast only last week and scored 9.35 on her Capital Cup floor exercise, third-highest score in that event.

The highest individual score for any event was Calore's 9.8 in the vault.