Francesca Phillips runs in the senior race and Lynn Kennedy in the intermediate age group. It will be the sixth successive occasion that Francesca, just turned 18, has been chosen for Merseyside in English Schools' Championships on the track or over the country, and Lynn will be making her second such appearance at this level.
In both cases, Merseyside representation is just reward for the hard work which both girls have put in under the guidance of their Liverpool based coach, Charlie Whiteside, this past winter. Training in a group which also includes Paul Riley and John Evans, who were both members of Liverpool Harriers' team which won third place medals in last year's National Youths' Cross-Country title race, the two Wallasey athletes have steadily improved in strength and fitness in recent months. This was fully demonstrated when Lynn finished third and Francesca fourth in the recent Merseyside Schools' Championship for seniors and intermediates combined.
Their successes have provided the ideal example for
No fewer than six of them, including Francesca, Lynn and Joanne Johnson, Emma Derwent, Liesel Phillips and Lia O'Hara, have represented Merseyside Schools already this winter in meetings in the Isle of Man and Dublin.
With newcomer Vicky Duckworth showing great promise and Jayne McCoy returning to form after illness, Wallasey can boast one of the best groups of under-13 runners on Merseyside, other than the all-powerful Liverpool Harriers. All of these girls will be turning their attention to track competition this spring and summer.
Neither has the male side of the club been overshadowed. Youngsters like Michael King, Paul Backhouse, Andrew Pennington, Rob Howarth, David Neil and Roy McGregor have been progressing dramatically in recent months.
All of them have joined the club within the last couple of years and their improvement is an indication of the reviving fortunes of a club which was one of the major athletics powers in the region until the 1960s.
With more established and highly talented teenagers like Peter Doyle, Steve and Neil Henfrey, Dave Pennington and Ian Wiggins continuing their preparations for the track season in impressive fashion, the prospects for 1984 are brighter than they have been for many years.
The seniors, too, are beginning to make their mark again in local athletics and full teams have been fielded in all the major cross-country championship races this past winter, including the Northern and National title events.
Bob Brimage, the club's most loyal and consistent performer on the track and road and over the country in recent years, is showing good form, as are Peter Lonsdale, junior James Downey, Alan Johnson and new recruits Gordon Rowe, Andrew Skinner, Paul Freeman and Gordon Robinson.
Major targets for the club this year will be the Northern Track League for seniors and the Dunlop Young Athletes' League, which Wallasey has entered for the first time.
Peter Doyle, the Henfrey brothers, Francesca Phillips and Lynn Kennedy will all be bidding for places in the Merseyside team in the English Schools' Track Championships at Thurrock, in Essex, in July.
Wallasey Athletic Club is now established at its new headquarters at Wallasey Rugby Club in Cross Lane and meets there for training sessions on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 7.15 p.m., and at Woodchurch track on Wednesdays at the same time.
Anyone interested in athletics from the age of 11 through to pensioners, is welcome to join in, whatever their ability.