DHS’ Mercadel signs NLI to Southern track and field

DERON TALLEY @DeRonTalley
DHS’ Terralicia Mercadel signed a National Letter of Intent to run track at Southern University.

Donaldsonville High senior Terralicia Mercadel signed a National Letter of Intent to the Southern University track and field women’s team on Friday, May 1. Mercadel, who returned to DHS in August after living in New Orleans for two years, said Southern was a team that always had her eye.

“They gave me one of the first opportunities to come run and offer me a scholarship and I’m not going to let anything just go past me,” Mercadel said.

The signing day was very emotional for Mercadel and those who knew her best. Mercadel said she’s thankful for everybody who “helped me come this long way because I’ve been through a lot.”

“It’s here. It took a long time for me to get here and I’ve been through so much and it’s just a special and happy feeling,” Mercadel said.

She attended DHS from seventh through ninth grades but during her freshman year she had to leave because a situation happened when she was younger and she was about to get put in foster care. However DHS Coach Tarleshia Miles took the time “to help me out and took me in until I was able to stay with my dad in New Orleans.”

Now she lives with Donaldsonville resident Nell Ervin who welcomed Mercadel in with open and loving arms.

“God gave me her. She is the sweetest young lady that I’ve met in a long time and she is very driven,” Ervin said, emotionally. “For what she’s gone through and I don’t know everything she’s gone through, I was very surprised at the drive and positive attitude and spirit she had to go to college.”

Ervin said she didn’t know Mercadel was an athlete and when “I saw her she is the epitome of an athlete.”

“Everything that I’ve seen from her was to move forward and be successful,” Ervin said. “She’s very deserving of this day and her scholarship.”

Mercadel was staying with her boyfriend and his family in St. James. But she had to get a stable place close by and Ervin welcomed her in.

“She took me in like I was her own child and it feels good to know I have a stable place I can call home now,” Mercadel said.

Mercadel said now she’s just ready to get to Jaguar Nation and run. She plans to major in pre-physical therapy so she can be an athletic trainer.

Mercadel added: “Special thanks to Beverly Alexander and Junius Champagne because they did a lot in my life. I want to thank Coach Miles and Ms. Nell for taking me at the times I needed. All the coaches that helped me put in work to make it possible.”

DHS Athletic Director Benny Guilbeau said, “It’s a privilege and honor to see a young lady come through the ranks and do what she needed to do to fulfill the requirements to sign a National Letter of Intent.”