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Gophers tennis program rejuvenates after injury-riddled season

After having to forfeit their spring 2023 season, the Gopher women’s tennis team is hoping to come back stronger with a new head coach.
Image by Photo by Alex Karwowski
Athletic Director Mark Coycle announced in May Lois Arterberry would be the head coach.

After an injury-filled, forfeited season, the Gopher women’s tennis team is working to build back for the coming year with their new head coach

New head coach Lois Arterberry is looking to make sure her team is well educated on the resources they have as student-athletes to keep them healthy throughout the season and offseason.

University of Minnesota Athletics Director, Mark Coyle, announced in May Arterberry would take the head coach position, replacing Catrina Thompson, who led the program the past six seasons.

She previously served as head women’s tennis coach at the University of St. Thomas for two seasons and guided the program through its transition from Division III to Division I. In that span, she led the Tommies to their first-ever Division I win against intra-conference opponent Western Illinois.

Colby Carlson, new head coach of the St. Thomas women’s tennis team and former assistant head coach under Arterberry, said Arterberry was one of the best coaches to work with.

“She has very organized practices with specific goals that raise the level of play within the team,” Carlson said. “Lois exudes a tremendous positive energy that motivates and uplifts the team’s attitude.”

Arterberry recognized the health issues the Gopher women’s tennis team faced in the spring and made clear her intentions to mitigate the issue. She said there are year-round resources available to athletes to help them maintain a healthy status during the offseason.

“My plan is to obviously listen to the student-athletes – provide them with the resources they need,” Arterberry said. “Here at the University, we have all the resources: from our strength and conditioning coaches, our trainers, our sports psychologists, our nutritionists.”

Carlson complimented Arterberry’s endeavors to ensure her athletes are getting what they need.

The players know she cares about them both on and off the court,” Carlson said. “Lois helps the players use all of the resources the University has to assist them both physically and mentally.”

According to the University’s sports medicine medical director and tennis team physician, Dr. Bradley Nelson, each athletic team is assigned their own athletic trainer, primary care sports medicine physician, orthopedic surgeon, nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach that works with the team to ensure the athletes are staying healthy while they compete.

These individuals work together to develop a plan to help rehab athletes after an injury and keep them healthy during the offseason, Nelson said.

Even with so many resources to help keep athletes healthy, injuries are inevitable. When an athlete gets injured, Nelson said it is athletic trainer’s job to assess the injury first.

“Many times those athletes can be treated by the athletic trainer and the injury is short-lived,” Nelson said. “If it’s something a little bit more serious, they’ll bring them in to see one of the primary care sports docs or one of the orthopedic surgeons.”

Preventing injuries not only comes from being safe on the field of play but also by maintaining a healthy diet. 

“Our nutrition folks will work with the athletes – or sometimes they’ll just work with the team in general to discuss healthy diets meeting specific needs,” Nelson said.

The team’s nutritionist often works with the athletes to help develop a diet plan specific to each individual, Nelson said.

As head coach, Arterberry said it is critical for her to make sure she knows her athletes are aware of the resources available to the student-athletes all year to keep them healthy.

“As a coach, I will go all out in any way possible to ensure that their health and well-being is being placed first,” Arterberry said.

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