Student Spotlight: Maggie Birrell

horse picOn weekends most teenagers can be found doing homework or hanging out with friends. However senior Maggie Birrell can be found playing polo for the UT interscholastic team or the Austin Polo Club.
“I started riding horses when I was 4 years old because my grandparents neighbor’s had horses and I loved them from the beginning,” Birrell said.
Polo is more than riding horses, though. Each match contains six seven and a half minute periods or chukkers. During these chukkers, each team of four is trying to score the most goals, while preventing the other team from scoring.
“Like hockey on a horse,” Birrell said. “Once the match is over, the team with the most points wins.”
Birrell got her start at polo when she saw the UT polo team practice. She decided to try polo and instantly fell in love.
“My favorite part of polo is when you get the ball on a breakaway and are galloping full speed down the field on a horse with a ball behind you and score. It is always such an adrenaline rush,” Birrell said.
To train, Birrell practices running, hitting and contact drills. Her team always ends there practices with a game like follow the leader, red light, green light or sharks and minnows.
As for her future polo aspirations fellow polo player Madeleine Wilson said, “Honestly, she’ll probably go pro after college, she’s that good.”