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Returning to Rugby Roots

Terp Olympian Presents Jersey From Tokyo Games to Club Sports

By Annie Krakower

Abby Gustaitis stands next to framed Team USA rugby jersey

Abby Gustaitis ’13, co-captain of Team USA’s 2021 Olympic rugby squad, presents a framed jersey to Club Sports on Thursday at the Eppley Recreation Center.

Photos by Hong H. Huynh

Kids at Terp Quest, a day camp hosted by University Recreation and Wellness, are used to learning a slew of sports and games during their action-packed summer weeks. Today, they were treated to an Olympic-caliber teacher.

Abby Gustaitis ’13, co-captain of the United States women’s rugby team at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, stopped by the Eppley Recreation Center to present a framed jersey from the Games to Club Sports, where she got her start with rugby. With her former UMD coach, Pamela Gouws, on hand—as well as current women’s coach John Mohler, men’s coach Jeff Soeken, and other club players and representatives—she recounted her path to the Olympic stage, answered kids’ questions and even lined up for a short race with the campers.

Abby Gustaitis races campers
Abby Gustaitis ’13, left, races Terp Quest campers. (Photo by Hong H. Huynh)

“It’s really special to come back here,” Gustaitis said. “Thanks to Jeff and Pam and everyone at Maryland for helping me achieve this goal and being a part of my journey.”

Before earning sixth place with the Olympic squad, Gustaitis garnered All-American honors as a Terp. She played with the nearby Maryland Stingers and the Northern Virginia senior club post-graduation, then began training with Team USA in the sevens version of the sport, which appropriately has seven-player teams and seven-minute halves.

Since the Olympics, she’s joined the new Premier Rugby Sevens professional league’s Headliners team, which next plays in Austin on July 30.

Read more about Gustaitis in Maryland Today’s roundup of six Terp Olympians.

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