Chelsea student-athlete takes on a new challenge with Michigan State University


Ava Woodard was a standout with the Chelsea field hockey team. photo by Mike Williamson

A unique college commitment and signing for Chelsea student-athlete Ava Woodard, as she looks to Michigan State University next year where she will take on a whole new sport.

Woodard said MSU has always been in the plans, but also competing on the women’s rowing team wasn’t exactly on the radar, at least not until a conversation with a good friend.

But now she will be on the rowing team. It’s a really exciting and challenging opportunity.

The Sun Times News (STN) reached out to Woodard to ask her about going to the college level.

“I think it was a pretty tough decision because starting a brand new sport in college is difficult, especially with the time commitment that comes with a Division 1 sport,” said Woodard. “The choice was really on whether or not I would participate in the sport, not the school because I was already planning on going there.”

Woodard on signing day back on November. photo courtesy of Chelsea Athletics

She said she felt very nervous and excited about signing because she has never rowed before and playing a Division 1 sport can be very intimidating.

“I picked MSU because it was my top choice if a school regardless of whether or not I played a sport, but the opportunity for me to play a sport is great!” she said.

At Chelsea High School, she was on the varsity field hockey team for four years as well as throwing shot put and discus, and being part of the marching band.

She said rowing entered her life when one of her good friends told her “that I would be good at rowing because they look for athletic people.”

And she is athletic with some good highlights to look back on, including going to the State Championship for field hockey her sophomore year and going to Regionals for track and field last year, where she beat her seed in her events and placed all-region.

She said the hard work has definitely paid off so far, but there is still more to come.

A big part of why she is taking on this new challenge at MSU goes back to the people who supported and helped her.

“I would say that my family and team are who got me to this point,” she told STN. “My family always told me that I could do anything and that I should not limit myself to things that seem unrealistic when I want them. My team and coaches taught me about how perseverance and hard work pays off in the game and outside because I am pushing myself to be better than I was.”

Woodard also competed as a track and field athlete. photo by Mike Williamson
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