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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Making a Grand Entrance

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By Martin Cleary

Let’s try something a little different this week. Welcome to Making a Grand Entrance, a five-part series focusing on five athletes with Ottawa connections, who have taken the next critical step in their careers in 2020-21.

We’ll open the series Monday in Denmark, where former University of Ottawa Gee-Gees’ Angela Ribarich is playing in the top women’s pro basketball league. After missing the first three games with injury and then serving as a productive substitute for six games, she made her initial start Saturday with first-place Amager and posted stellar stats.

On Tuesday, hockey-player-turned-bobsledder Mike Evelyn has quickly raced his way onto the premier World Cup circuit. He made his debut on the weekend with two races on the natural-ice course in St. Moritz, Switzerland, which is considered the birthplace of the speed sport.

Marial Shayok will be our Wednesday focus. He looked right at home in his elite Turkish pro men’s basketball league debut with Frutti Extra Bursaspor. His team-high points and rebounds sparked his new club to an important late-regular-season victory.

Former Ottawa figure skater Kaiya Ruiter is only 14, but she moved into senior women’s singles last weekend in the most dramatic way. She won the short program at Skate Canada’s Challenge competition, the qualifying event for nationals, which have been cancelled.

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We’ll wrap up the Making a Grand Entrance series on Friday, which will be the day before Lindsay Eastwood makes her women’s pro hockey debut with Toronto Six in the 12-day National Women’s Hockey League Bubble Season in Lake Placid, New York.

Check our homepage each evening to read these stories at

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the High Achievers “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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