Allen, Brown giving back through SAQ camp

Prep sceneSt. Paul Highland Park student athletes are learning valuable lessons from two who walked in their shoes during the 1990s.

Johnny Allen Jr. and Marc Brown — who played football for the Scots during the mid-1990s — are getting them ready for the up-and-coming season through a Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ) program they developed with St. Paul Parks and Recreation four years ago.

The SAQ camp gives participants a chance to focus on speed, agility and quickness, but Allen specifically pointed out that the camp is about much more.

“It is about developing characteristics that they [participants] can use throughout their life,” the 1997 graduate stressed. “It is about developing teamwork, hard work and leadership.”

The participants, all of whom attend Highland Park, seemed to agree with Allen — who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas in 2002 — as they were interviewed after one of their workouts last week at Highland Park.

“I like what Johnny is doing,” senior Ben Lucen said. “He’s given us a chance to improve.”

“Johnny pushes us hard in conditioning and sprinting,” sophomore Peyton Haider added. “He wants us to improve.”

“Johnny has really been pushing me hard,” sophomore Ashlin Schultz-Perry said. “Even when I feel I don’t have anything left.”

“You are expected to work your hardest and push yourself,” senior Xzavier Wells said with emphasis. “You are pushed to do your best.”

Malek Stagg indicated that the camp was more than improving his speed, agility and quickness. “It is a fun camp,” the freshman said. “You get to know other people.”

The first three years of the SAQ camp were facilitated through St. Paul Parks and Recreation. This summer Allen made the decision to partner with his alma mater with plans to expand in the future.

“We hope to expand it to give more student athletes an opportunity,” he said.

Brown, who graduated from Highland in 1996 after excelling in track in addition to football, agreed with his former prep teammate. “It’s important that student athletes are provided chances to improve themselves.”

Treveion Walker summed it up best when describing his experience with SAQ: “The program is good,” the sophomore said.

“Sometimes it gets very hard,” he added. “But it’s worth it.”


Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to