Monday, July 26, 2010

Inkel-Pongracz weathers severe personal storm

Abby Vorreyer admits it will be a bit unusual today when she tees it up with her University of Illinois Springfield coach, Nichole Inkel-Pongracz, in the opening round of the Women’s City Golf Tournament at Lincoln Greens.

But if one of Vorreyer’s shots goes awry, she’ll probably get some encouragement from Inkel-Pongracz.

“Her biggest thing is, even when everything’s going wrong, just be positive in the moment and deal with the next shot,” Vorreyer said of Inkel-Pongracz. “That’s the biggest thing she tries to teach us.”

If Inkel-Pongracz didn’t already use that approach to golf — and life — before this year, it was reinforced this past spring.

Already having survived a serious auto accident in 1992 and cervical cancer a little more than a decade ago, the UIS coach went through an emotional month during which she said goodbye to her biggest fan and came very close to losing another one.

“If there’s anything I learned from that experience, it’s that it’s not what happens in your life, it’s how you deal with it,” said Inkel-Pongracz, whose father, H. Albert “Al” Inkel, died on April 3 in Naples, Fla.

Inkel-Pongracz's story was featured in a July 24, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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