Teammates honor teen who died skiing at Beaver Creek
Vail, CO Colorado
BEAVER CREEK – The 13-year-old girl who died in a skiing accident on Beaver Creek mountain earlier this month left a lasting impression on her volleyball community.
Less than a week after Taylor Storch, of Coppell, Texas, passed away, about 300 people attended her volleyball team’s first tournament without her.
Many of the athletes wore blue ribbons in their hair or painted Storch’s number, 4, on their skin.
“It was just so sweet to see and, obviously, pretty emotional,” Storch’s volleyball coach, Steve Hutcheson, recalled. “It was a neat thing.”
During the tournament, everyone in the Dallas, Texas, volleyball facility held a prayer in honor of Storch, he said.
“Everyone just immediately stopped playing on all the other courts and came on over and surrounded us,” he said. “It was just so moving.”
The other girls on Storch’s Dallas-based club team, Victory 14 National, had painted their fingernails “Tiffany blue” – Storch’s favorite color – and tied their shoes with blue laces, he said.
But they had no idea a large crowd of friends and well-wishers had amassed inside the volleyball court to honor Storch’s memory. That came as a heart-warming surprise.
When the girls first arrived at the tournament, they ducked into a small room for a private prayer, Hutcheson said.
There, Storch’s dad, Todd Storch, spoke to the team.
The girls had been struggling with whether to play in a tournament so close to their teammates’ death.
“I think that’s a normal reaction: to put everything on hold,” Todd Storch said. “But I told them there’s no way Taylor would want them to not play. They need to get out there. The best way to honor Taylor would be to go do their best.”
Through tears, the girls clinched second place in the tournament’s gold bracket championship.
“Though we finished second, I told the girls that they were winners because so many people thought we wouldn’t even show up to play,” Hutcheson said in an e-mail.
Hutcheson chronicled the outpouring of support at the volleyball tournament in an e-mail. The story has been circulating throughout the nation’s volleyball community.
Storch died from injuries she sustained in a collision with a tree after falling and veering off the Latigo trail.
Friends have made a Facebook page, “Remember Taylor,” dedicated to her memory.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or email@example.com.