The Arizona State women’s gymnastics team has welcomed 2006 All-American Nicole Harris back to the team. Harris, who left the team due to personal reasons last February, has been reinstated on the Sun Devils roster effective as of November 17, 2008.
“Nicole is an outstanding athlete and we are happy to have her back on the team,” said 29th year head coach John Spini.
Harris, a 2004 Olympic Trials qualifier, earned second-team All-American honors on beam during her freshman campaign. She was named to the Pac-10 all-around team as a sophomore. Prior to leaving the team, Harris had put up the team’s top marks on bars, beam and floor during her junior campaign.
“I am so grateful to be back doing what I love most in the place I love most,” said Harris, “I’m excited to put everything from last year behind me and work with the team to get back to nationals.”
That’s quite different from what she said in February when she announced her resignation mid-season, shocking ASU coach John Spini.
“I knew what was best for me, and that was to stop torturing my body,” Harris said in a phone message Thursday. “It was just painful to sleep at night, and that’s when I knew. Unfortunately, the timing sucks, and yes, I’m letting a lot of people down, but I have to listen to what my intuition is telling me.”
The Sun Devils open their season at home against Missouri on January 16.
Harris, known for her flexibility and a sweet bar routine, was sort of a long shot for the 2004 Olympic team.
Nicole Harris, 2004 American Classic, Uneven Bars:
Several months off have apparently rekindled her desire to compete. The senior will also be able to work with new assistant coach and 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzcher, who was added to the staff over the summer.
Harris’s fellow Parkette/ASU teammate Tia Orlando, who was also considered by some a contender for an Olympic berth in 2004, is not on the roster this year. Orlando tore her achilles warming up a double pike at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships. An ACL injury kept her out of competition in 2007.