ADAMS - Tori Rumbolt, a Cheshire resident and Hoosac Valley High School graduate, was remembered fondly on Thursday by her family, friends and coaches who were shocked by the news of her unexpected death.
Rumbolt, 18, was found in Adams early Thursday after an extensive search through the night by state, Adams and North Adams police. State police used helicopters and a K-9 unit as part of the search.
A state trooper located Rumbolt's vehicle on Oak Town Road and found Rumbolt in the woods, according to her father, Robert Rumbolt.
"She was an outstanding kid, athletic, huge heart," Rumbolt said. "It's mind boggling."
Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said no foul play was suspected in the girl's death.
Her father said that her teammates and fellow students admired her as a leader. "She was well liked," he said.
"We are grieving," Rumbolt said. He commended local and state police for their efforts in finding his daughter.
"She was the love of our lives and now she's gone," said Tori's grandmother, Nancy Rumbolt. "It's such a tragedy. You feel so helpless."
Tori was a three-star athlete at Hoosac Valley High School, excelling in varsity softball, basketball and soccer. She was on the Hoosac Valley basketball team that captured the team's first Western Massachusetts Championship last year.
Hoosac Valley basketball Coach Ron Wojcik credited Tori with being an integral part to the team's championship victory. He said Tori brought a "toughness" to the court, with her rebounding, defensive play and willingness to take charges. She would help bring the ball up the court if there was a defensive press. "Tori was a real competitor for us," he said. "She was not afraid."
Tori was rushed to the hospital after she injured her ankle in the second quarter of the 2013 Western Massachusetts championship game and didn't get to see her team win its first title, Wojcik said. But she made it to the pizza party afterwards.
"She was out of sorts but happy for the team," he said.
The injury kept her out of the first part of the softball season, but she returned to the team in May. She played like nothing was wrong even though the injury was serious, softball coach Morgan Shafer said. "She was a tough kid."
Shafer coached Rumbolt through all four of her years with the varsity team, including the last three as head coach. "She was a really good friend of mine," she said. "She was one of the best shortstops in the entire county. She had this poise about her that was awesome."
The daughter of a baseball coach, Tori had a cannon of an arm, a slick glove and quick feet, Shafer said. She could hit for power and steal bases.
"On the field, she always commanded what was going on," Shafer said. Tori would keep players on their toes by calling out the game situation, secret plays and "secret handshakes," Shafer said. "She was very friend-oriented. She was always picking other people up."
Away from the field, Tori liked dirtbike riding and music. "She always had her headphones on," Shafer said. "It's been very very tough (on the players)," Shafer said. "The girls are devastated."
Courtney Crews, a sophomore on the softball team, said she and Tori were close friends. Crews has been playing with the team since she was in eighth grade and called Tori an "inspiration."
When Crews injured her hip in a go-kart accident two years ago, Tori encouraged her through her rehabilitation. Crews said she wouldn't have returned to playing softball after the injury without Tori's help. As a teammate, Tori would give the players a lot of tips. "If you were having a bad day, she would make you laugh," Crews said.
"It really doesn't seem like it's true," Crews said. It seems like a "nightmare," she said.
Tori showed up at the unveiling of the basketball team's championship banner this past season and attended games during their run to a second consecutive Western Massachusetts championship.
On Thursday, players from Wojcik's team gathered at his home for lunch to talk about Tori. Some of the players were emotional, he said.
The softball team plans to honor Rumbolt's memory with a tribute before the start of the today's game at home against Wahconah at 1 p.m., Shafer said.
Adams-Cheshire Regional School District Superintendent Kristen Gordon said she and Hoosac Valley Principal Vinnie Regan are in the process of planning support services and outreach for students and staff.
"Many will be impacted by this tragedy," she said.
"My heart is absolutely broken for this family," Gordon said. "Another young life cut too short ... absolutely heartbroken. Vinnie and I are truly devastated. We both adored this student, as did many people."
To reach Nathan Mayberg:
or (413) 496-6243