Babin to represent nation in international race

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mercedes Babin placed 18th in the 2016 State Cross Country race for Pearl River Central.

Mercedes Babin placed 18th in the 2016 State Cross Country race for Pearl River Central.

It was just this year when Mercedes Babin, a junior at Pearl River Central High School, started running for the cross-country team. Now she’s already been invited to compete at the international level.

Babin was selected to represent the state of Mississippi and the nation at the 2017 Down Under Sports Cross Country competition in Australia this summer.

In her first year on the cross-country team, Babin placed 18th at the state meet on Nov. 5.

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“What got me hooked to the sport is how positive everyone is,” Babin said. “Regardless of what team you are on, everyone is encouraging each other while racing.”

She said she uses running as an therapeutic outlet where it’s “just me, my feet and the ground.”

Babin is also a member of the Lady Devils varsity soccer team, Beta Club, Student Council and National Honors Society, maintaining all A’s and a 4.0 GPA, Babin said.

Last year at the Down Under Sports Cross Country competition, over 3,400 runners competed in the Gold Coast Marathon 5.7K race, in which two male runners placed in the top 10, five in the top 20 and nine in the top 25, Down Under Sports website states. The girls had three top 10 finishers and eight in the top 25. The U.S. has had top five runners ever year since competing in the Gold Coast 5.7K race, but have yet to have a first place winner.

“I am very excited to compete across seas. It’s always been a dream of mine to travel the world and I am happy to start that adventure in Australia,” Babin said.

She has accepted the challenge to compete in the Down Under Sports Cross Country competition, and asks for help from her community along the way.

Babin is honored to represent not only her community, but also her nation on the Central Conference Cross Country team in the summer. She is looking for sponsors to help fund the cost of travel and competing in Australia. She said a major source of funds for her “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” is from contributions from family, friends and business sponsors.

Those that contribute to fulfilling Babin’s dream will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a trip for two to Australia and Hawaii and/or a subsequent drawing for a 5-day cruise for two, according to the Down Under Sports website.

To donate, go to, or call 435-753-4732.