LANSING | This Angell has been giving opponents a devil of a time.
T.F. South coach Fred Seibel just wishes Dylan Angell's prep cross country career wasn't a one-and-done deal.
Angell, a standout in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs during track season, spent his first two high school years playing football in the fall. He switched to soccer in 2010, then sought out yet another change of scenery this season.
"Once I tried those two, cross country was the only one left," Angell said. "Out of the three, I like cross country best. Cross country runners are more laid-back than anything else, and we're just having fun doing our own thing.
"I wish I would have done it all four years."
Angell first picked up soccer and then cross country as ways to stay in shape for the sport he really loved: hockey. Introduced to the game at age 6, Angell plays for the Cobras, an Oak Lawn-based club team that includes athletes from several other south suburban high schools.
"I need endurance for hockey," he said, "and I'm sure cross country is a good builder-up. I just wanted to stay active and keep my fitness up."
While Angell's fitness goes up, his times keep coming down. He ran a 4:38 mile last spring.
"I figured he'd be decent,' Seibel said. "I didn't know (exactly) how he was going to do, but if you run a 4:38 mile, obviously you're going to run close to 16 flat (for three miles)."
Angell's lowest time to date is just 22 seconds above that mark. He ran it at the Tinley Park Invitational, the race that has most impressed Seibel.
"It was a tough field," Seibel said. "He was 20th, and he passed a lot of people and ended up getting ninth. He comes through (each mile) fast and seems to have a good kick at the end."
Angell has won several smaller meets and been among the leaders in the bigger ones. Seibel said his success has spurred other Rebels.
"When you see someone winning races, you're going to run harder because you see that (person) as a leader," Seibel said. "I think they were a little more serious this year. They really want to get to the next level."
In Angell's case, that means taking aim at postseason glory. He'll attempt to become T.F. South's first state qualifier since Jake Breune in 2004, a journey that begins Saturday with the South Suburban Blue meet at North Creek Meadow.
"I want to try to get under 16:10, maybe peak at 15:55 or something like that," said Angell, who clocked a 17:08 in his first meet. "I didn't know I was going to be doing so good. I'm really excited about that."