Accomplished equestrian Ava Stearns, a senior at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS), signed a letter of intent to join the women’s equestrian team at NCAA Division I school Auburn University, in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday morning at MVRHS, surrounded by friends and family. Auburn’s equestrian squad is a Division 1 national championship team.
“I’m ready to join the Auburn family,” Ava told The Times after she signed her letter on National Signing Day. “Riding has always been a big part of my life, and it’s really exciting now that I can take that and turn it into the next chapter.”
Ava’s mother, Sarah Doyle, is a teacher and trainer at Pond View Farm in West Tisbury, so Ava has been riding horses since she was 3 years old, Ava’s father, Bret Stearns, said in a speech before the signing. “We are so proud of Ava today,” Stearns said. “Her accomplishments are too long to go through the whole list, but what I will say is she is top 5 nationally ranked, the West Coast champion, and the East Coast reserve champion in the United States.”
Ava has balanced riding and school her whole life, and maintained strong academics, which is partly why she decided on Auburn. “She does work in the back of a car, on the back of a horse, on the phone, with tutors … she’s had a very different schedule than most people,” Stearns said. Ava is interested in Auburn’s premed program.
Ava will graduate from MVRHS in the spring, and attend Auburn next fall.