The Student News Site of The Potomac School

The Potomac Current

McLean, Virginia
The Student News Site of The Potomac School

The Potomac Current

McLean, Virginia
The Student News Site of The Potomac School

The Potomac Current

McLean, Virginia
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On our Cross-Country Team Cabin Trip, we bonded with each other and Coach Valmon

Things got exciting when we were chased out of our cabin by bed bugs!
Our+cabin+at+Algonquin+Regional+Park
Jessica Raman
Our cabin at Algonquin Regional Park

I was a little nervous as I set off for this year’s cross-country cabin trip on August 23rd at Algonquin Regional Park. I had enjoyed the trip my freshman and sophomore years, but this year, for the first time, we were going without Coach Jason Dwyer, who everyone knew and loved, because he stepped down from coaching after the spring track season, in which the Potomac team won our conference and a state title. Now, we had a track superstar with her own resume of collegiate and Olympic success.

When I heard about Coach Meredith Valmon for the first time, I was worried that her phenomenal accomplishments would mean she would have a different coaching philosophy from Coach Dwyer, who constantly emphasized the importance of community and support. 

However, on the cabin trip, Coach Valmon gave a speech that helped the team get to know her and her philosophy a little bit better. 

In her first speech to the whole cross country team, she explained how a random encounter with her hallmate in college convinced her to take up running at Harvard, where she was a student. As is evident from her numerous athletic accomplishments, the decision to run at Harvard changed her life. Her moral of the story was not that being an Olympic athlete is great, but rather that a small interaction with another person can be enough to change their life. The Potomac cross country team has long been a place where a strong community is valued more highly than individual accomplishments, and despite her own phenomenal accomplishments, and through her speech, it became clear to me that Coach Valmon felt the same way. 

Thanks in large part to Coach Gagne, many of the cabin trip traditions that I remember fondly from my first two years remained the same, including our imaginative game of charades and early morning trek to the Potomac River to see the sunrise. This year, however, we added a new tradition too: frantically examining our sheets and pajamas for any signs of bug infestation.

As we were getting ready for bed on the last night, the coaches came into our cabin and ominously declared that we had to gather all of our belongings and move to a different cabin. It turns out that previous occupants of our cabin had just reported a case of bed bugs! The next half hour was spent searching through our clothes for any signs of bed bugs (apparently they look like watermelon seeds) and thoroughly researching the difference between mosquito bites and bed bug bites. It’s safe to say that we all went to bed feeling a little itchy that night. Though I continue to feel itchy to this day (despite any evidence of bedbugs), I now feel more bonded with my teammates than I did before. 

We had pretty views of the Potomac at sunset. (Charlotte Gabriel)
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About the Contributor
Jessica Raman
Jessica Raman, Managing Editor
Jessica Raman is the managing editor of the print edition for the Current. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking and getting lost in good books. She also enjoys spending time outside, whether it be on a run or a nice walk. She is a junior at Potomac.