LANSING | Dylan Angell got familiar with what many consider a lost art.
In an era of texting and Facebook, the T.F. South senior sat down and wrote what he guesses is his first good old-fashioned letter.
It is addressed to the Lansing community and it is asking for financial support as Angell heads to Australia to compete in two international races. He was selected by Down Under Sports Tournaments, but the total cost of the trip will be about $4,500, according to his mom, Robin.
"I actually kind of enjoyed writing the letter(s) and mailing them out," Angell said. "I am getting the chance to get in front of people and talk with them, which I think in the long run will help me as far as being able to improve my communication skills."
He is one of several Illinois runners chosen. There are two cross country races. One is a 5-kilometer Down Under International Cross Country Meet and the other is the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. He will run on the East Central Conference team.
"I know I am representing my community, my state as well as the United States," Angell said. "This will really be a totally different experience for me and the others.
"I have never been out of the United States, so it will really be a great cultural experience. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
It certainly was not even on Angell's radar as he did not run cross country until this season. He ended up winning the South Suburban Blue individual championship and was a Class 3A state qualifier.
"I really went out to get in shape for hockey," Angell said. "I just really ran well and it took off from there."
While he is a distance runner, his time to raise the funds is a sprint. He must have his money by June 1. T.F. South cross country coach Fred Seibel said he will do what he can to help him.
"First, I can't think of a better person to represent our school and community," Seibel said. "I will talk with people about giving some money, and I will give him some."
Any donation Angell gets in January, Down Under Sports will match 25 percent. He has already had donations come from former teachers, coaches and business people.
"You do get to talk with a lot of people, and there is nothing wrong with talking with people in our community," Angell said. "Lansing is a small town in that everybody knows everybody.
"I am really fortunate my mom and dad (Robin and Ed) are letting me do this."
Robin said the family is planning fundraisers like a walk-a-thon and bake sales. The Angells are familiar with raising money as they are in charge of the Cobras hockey club and have been involved in raising money for various sports teams.
"We are happy for Dylan and we are going to make sure he has that opportunity to go," Robin Angell said. "We are going to do all we can on our end to raise the money."