Md. native, Olympian announces new rugby league following White House visit

Abby Gustaitis during a match for USA Rugby (Courtesy USA Rugby)
Gustaitis does a jersey swap with Ariel Atkins of the Washington Mystics to help promote the upcoming Premier Rugby Sevens league. (Courtesy Premier Rugby Sevens)
Gustaitis and her teammates during their recent visit to the White House. (right)
Gustaitis shows of the gear that will be used by Premier Rugby Sevens athletes. (Courtesy Premier Rugby Sevens)

An Olympian from White Hall, Maryland, is sharing plans to  launch a new rugby league that will bring both a men’s and women’s professional team to the nation’s capital.

Abby Gustaitis competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and is captain of the USA Women’s Rugby Sevens team — a version of the game that has seven players on each team playing seven minute halves, as opposed to the standard 15 players on each team playing 40-minute halves.

Gustaitis joined her teammates for a visit to the White House before announcing plans to take on the role of captain for the Loggerheads in D.C., one of eight teams under the new Premier Rugby Sevens league.

“I think it will get a lot of eyes on the sport,” said Gustaitis. “Hopefully all the Washingtonians come out to see the sport, whether it’s for the first time or the 100th time,”

She says it’s all about reminding kids interested in rugby — or any sport — that the possibilities are endless.

“If I can get more young girls and boys playing rugby, then I will feel successful. I just want to leave the USA jersey in a better place,” she added.

The first game will be held at Audi Field on July 16.

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Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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