By Elizabeth Kane and Anmiao Wu

On International Women’s Day, Carleton University celebrates the many achievements of women in our campus community and beyond.

From astounding athleticism to unwavering leadership, Ravens women’s sport teams have endless stories of inspiring achievements.

Learn more about a few of our talented Ravens:

A basketball player prepares to shoot during a game.

Dani Sinclair

Head Coach, Women’s Basketball

The 2024 U SPORTS Women’s Final 8 Basketball tournament takes place during International Women’s Day and the  Ravens women’s basketball team, led by Head Coach Dani Sinclair, are ready to defend their title.

Recently named OUA’s Coach of the Year, Sinclair knows what it takes to be the best in Canada – having won national basketball titles as both a university athlete and coach. In both cases, success is a team effort.

“The accolades don’t fall onto any one person and failures don’t fall in the hands of any one person either,” says Sinclair.

A basketball coach talks to a player on the court.

Dani Sinclair (left)

Sinclair joined the Ravens in 2022 during the COVID-19 pandemic and at a unique time for university sport operating with health restrictions. In the two years that have followed, the team has won OUA’s Critelli Cup and the U SPORTS national title.

“I was lucky to have taken over a program that was well established,” she says, noting the importance of adapting her approach to the new team. “When you have such a solid foundation of sport culture, you don’t really have an excuse not to be successful.”

Sinclair began coaching at the University of Victoria while on maternity leave from her career as a teacher, her baby tagging along to practices. Her mother supported her with childcare during games, following the team across western Canada.

“As opportunities came up, I was able to step into a head coaching role,” she says.

When reflecting on the difference between taking to the court as a player compared to a coach, Sinclair says she prefers her current position.

“There’s a lot of fulfillment,” she explains. “You are able to step back and gain perspective that is really hard to have when you’re in the sport as an athlete.”

As this season draws to a close, Sinclair is looking forward to continuing the Ravens momentum.

“It’s been a fun opportunity so far and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

A championship winning women's basketball team poses for a team photo.

Maria Michaux


Maria Michaux is used to demonstrating excellence under pressure as a scrum half on the Ravens rugby team. As a second-year Journalism student at Carleton, she finds the pressure of balancing school and sport brings out the best in her academics.

“During our regular season we practice six days a week,” she says.

“I have so much going on that I don’t have the time to procrastinate. It really improves my grades.”

While rugby has formed a cornerstone of her university experience, Michaux reflects on how her time at Carleton nearly went in another direction. Following high school, she intended to leave organized sports completely.

A rugby player holds a rugby ball while posing for a picture.

Maria Michaux

Relocating from her home in British Columbia to Ottawa, her family encouraged her to stick with athletics for one more year to build new connections. After discussing the team with Ravens rugby Head Coach David Luong, she was convinced.

“I arrived at school early for training camp and the rest is history,” she says. “I love this team so much; I can’t imagine not being a part of it.”

Michaux appreciates the extent to which the team values friendship. Despite the intense training schedule, players find time to connect off the field, fostering a positive environment.

“That’s something that I think our team does really well,” she says. “When I joined, I was immediately welcomed by everyone.”

As someone who has played many sports growing up, the positive culture of rugby stands out to Michaux.

“It’s such an inclusive sport,” says Michaux, noting the diversity of rugby athletes. “Everyone can have a role, regardless of who you are. You will never feel like an outsider.”

A rugby scrum during a game.

Stacey Colarossi

Head Coach, Women’s Hockey

As Head Coach of the Ravens women’s hockey team, Stacey Colarossi has a daunting daily schedule managing a team of 27 high-performing athletes and 10 staff volunteers. Most of the year, her days start before dawn and don’t end until well into the evening.

Helping to find balance for her student athletes, Colarossi aims to keep her players focused on the task at hand by “being where their feet are” – whether they are on the ice or in the classroom.

“There’s the athlete and then there’s the person,” she says.

“You try to understand both to find what works for them and how they can be successful. Having them understand that my door is open is important to me.”

Colarossi played many sports growing up, ultimately focusing her athletic talent on hockey.

A hockey coach stands behind her players on the bench during a game.

Stacey Colarossi

While injuries necessitated her departure from the game as a player, Colarossi returned to the ice in a coaching capacity – becoming involved in skill development at the junior level. Finding a new passion for the sport, she took an associate coaching position at York University.

Since those early days, Colarossi’s talent has been recognized at the international level. She has coached team Canada at the FISU Games and served as Associate Head Coach for Team China at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Two years into her leadership of Carleton’s women’s hockey program, Colarossi is focusing on continuing to grow the culture and her athletes’ success.

“We’re a very young program and there’s lots of room to grow,” she says.

“As a coach, it’s important to me that our athletes can work hard and push to their limits while ensuring they enjoy their experience as part of the team.”

Players and coaches on the bench during a women's hockey game.

Katherine Mason

Nordic Skiing

Katherine Mason, a fourth-year Carleton biology student, had her sights set on becoming a Raven when she was still in high school.

“I decided to come to Carleton because I knew they had a really strong ski team,” she says.

“That was something that I prioritized because I knew I wanted to ski at a high level.”

Trying to balance skiing, an honours degree and a part-time job, Mason says that finding time for everything can be a challenge but well worth it to have the opportunity to do what she loves.

A skier laughing while on the slopes, used as an example of how Carleton Ravens women are excelling in their respective athletic programs.

Katherine Mason

“I feel like my experience in university has been made so much better by being able to be part of the ski team,” she says, noting she enjoys having multiple areas of focus in her routine. “I can take a break from studying to go out and train with my friends. That has been amazing for me.”

In addition to her commitments to Carleton, Mason continues to ski for her home club, Nakkertok. She’s also skied for Team Ontario and represented Canada at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games.

“It was awesome to be able to race at an event of that caliber,” she says of her appearance at FISU. “It made me realize the possibility of what can be achieved by university athletes.

“Getting to know the other Canadian team members was really fun, we had a blast.”

As she wraps up her last skiing season as a Raven ahead of graduation this spring, one of Mason’s favorite memories is when her team dominated the trail and swept the podium at the 2023 OUA Championships.

“It was a perfect weekend for us,” she says. “It felt like we were each a part of something bigger.  The winners were some of my best friends on the team, so it was a cool experience to have together.”

A woman skiing.

Rhys Cole-Ashbury

Women’s Hockey

Growing up, Rhys Cole-Ashbury channeled her athletic ability into a variety of sports, but it was her overarching love of hockey that led her to play defence for the Ravens women’s team.

“I never had as much fun playing any other sport,” she says.

“Every week I was always looking forward to going to the rink.”

During the hockey season, Cole-Ashbury’s week is filled with multiple practices, strength workouts, traveling and games.

A close up of a hockey player, used as an example of how Carleton Ravens women are excelling in their respective athletic programs.

Rhys Cole-Ashbury

As a fourth-year business student majoring in marketing at the Sprott School of Business, these demands on her time have required her to build skills to work efficiently.

“I have a lot of time commitments for hockey, so my days are very structured,” she says.

“When I’m working with a group on a project, I have to communicate effectively with my classmates so that I can complete my work in the time I’ve set aside for it.”

While a demanding schedule can be a lot to handle, Cole-Ashbury notes that her dedication to the Ravens has had a positive impact on her overall wellness.

“Being a part of the hockey team has been really helpful in managing my mental health,” she says. “It keeps me physically active and I enjoy having an organized schedule to follow.”

With the season behind her and her undergrad coming to a close, Cole-Ashbury reflects on her time as a Raven.

“A big chapter of my life coming to an end; it has played a huge role in my growth as a person,” she says. “I’m so grateful for my time as an athlete and the friends I’ve made.

“It has been a privilege.”

A hockey player skating with a puck.

Nadine Smith

Head Athletic Therapist

Nadine Smith has always had a passion for helping people. Combined with her lifelong love of sports and education in human kinetics, she found herself drawn to a career in athletic therapy.

Smith and her team play a key role in supporting the health and success of Ravens athletes.

“We start working with our athletes from the beginning of training camp, through their regular season and into the playoff run,” says Smith.

“It’s a balance – working with our athletes’ expectations on managing injuries. They are competitors and want to push their limits.”

A woman poses for a professional photo in front of a mural with a logo.

Nadine Smith

Joining the university in 1999, she now leads Carleton’s athletic therapy team as Head Therapist. The group holds clinics, as well as provides pre-event and on-field coverage for injury treatment during games.

In addition to overseeing the program, Smith is responsible for supporting the health of the Raven’s men’s soccer team.

“I need to make sure I know what’s going on injury-wise with my team, as well as all the other teams and the program’s administrative needs,” she says.

Smith’s expertise as an athletic therapist is widely sought after. She has taken part in the Canada Games, World University Games, Pan American Games and Parapan American Games. Her skills as a therapist include supporting para-athletes. In 2021, she attended the Paralympic games in Tokyo.

“I feel really fortunate for these opportunities. I’ve been able to travel and meet some amazing people.”

Throughout the years, Smith has many stand out experiences at Carleton. One that she always looks forward to is the year-end athletic banquet, when Carleton’s team of therapists are recognized for their hard work and dedication.

“It’s wonderful to see the athletes’ appreciation,” says Smith. “There’s always a standing ovation for all the therapists that have put in time and effort to help the athletes perform their best.”

Each new season brings new challenges, but Smith says she is ready to meet them.

“I love what I do and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.”

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Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in , , ,
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