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Medford alum resigns after successful run at West Bend West

A highly-successful 13-year run has ended at West Bend West High School where Jerry Halopka, a 1999 graduate of Medford Area Senior High, has resigned as head coach of the girls track and field program.

Halopka steps down after a coaching run that, since he took over the program in 2008, has produced 82 WIAA Division 1 state qualifiers, 34 all-state athletes, 33 sectional champions and 228 all-conference athletes. In that time, West’s female athletes broke school records 12 times and 21 of them went on to compete at the collegiate level.

The Spartans won 12 Wisconsin Little Ten/North Shore Conference team championships with Halopka and his coaching staff, WIAA regional titles in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018 and sectional championships in 2013, 2014 and 2018. West Bend West earned top-10 spots in the Wisconsin Track and Field Coaches Association’s annual Division 1 power rankings six times.

Halopka was named the District 6 Coach of the Year by the coaches association in 2014 and 2019 and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online Coach of the Year in 2013.

Halopka, who is a math teacher at Kewaskum High School, cited wanting to spend more time with his family as the reason for his resignation.

He joined the West Bend West girls track and field coaching staff as an assistant in 2007, overseeing the shot put and discus throwers. By the following spring, the Spartans needed a new head coach and Halopka became the choice.

At the time, the Division 1 school had a very small roster of about 15 athletes. Now it’s a program that had 90 in his last season. He said relationship-building was his number-one goal in building the program.

“In years prior, the girls had all of the workouts to make them successful, but there were no relationships that were being built,” Halopka told Jeff Arenz of the West Bend Daily News in a recent story and interview. “I learned so much by going to the clinics in the area. “I also built a coaching staff of people who I trusted and were good teachers, even if they didn’t have a background in track and field.”

Halopka competed in football, wrestling and track and field while he attended high school in Medford. After graduation, he played college football as an offensive lineman for Concordia University of Wisconsin. In addition to coaching track and field, he was a football coaching assistant at West Bend West from 2007 to 2013.