Hardwick, Grzesk, Fayta Gain All-State Honors; Rohde Named AP State Coach of the Year

Joey Bonadonna, Sports Editor, Online Tritonian

After clinching back-to-back state titles, a few members of the Notre Dame girls basketball program are adding some more hardware to their résumé.

Senior Sarah Hardwick, sophomores Gracie Grzesk and Trista Fayta and Head Coach Sara Rohde all earned a form of all-state recognition from the 2021-22 season.

The Tritons, currently riding a 28-game win streak into the offseason, are 57-2 in their last two state championship seasons.

“Going back to back is a huge credit to our program and the work that is put forth by everyone involved,” Rohde said. “It isn’t easy to do, so I’m very proud of our team, staff and everyone that’s involved!”

Despite losing just two seniors going into next season, Rohde emphasizes that the team must be able to find players to fill their roles to find similar success in 2022.

“We do return a lot of our core group, but also lose two valuable seniors in Sarah and Caroline,” she said. “Like any team, we will have to adjust to new roles and have players step up to replace what Caroline and Sarah did for our group.”

Another advantage the Tritons have is the way they are prepared through their non-conference schedule. This past season, Notre Dame defeated both D1 state champion Kettle Moraine and D3 state champion Waupun, as well as other tough opponents like Hortonville, Pewaukee and De Pere twice in conference play.

Rohde said that next season’s non-conference schedule will be no less challenging, as they will face off against Hortonville, Verona, Pewaukee and Kimberly, as well as potential out of state games in Minnesota or Chicago as well.

As for postseason awards, this is the second consecutive year earning all-state honors for Hardwick and Grzesk, while a first for Fayta. 

For the two sophomores, their development has meant a huge deal to the Tritons’ success over the past two years.

“I’m really excited to see those two and all of our players keep developing, and they are eager to do so,” Rohde said. ”They are both tough players, but also know it’s not going to get any easier so if they want to have continued success, it’s imperative to improve.”

For Hardwick, she goes out into the sunset of high school basketball with two state championships and two all-state honors, heading to UW-Oshkosh to play basketball next season.

“Sarah may be one of the most improved players ever to come through our program,” Rohde said. ”She is a player that has been tough and impacted the success of our program in so many ways.  She defends, scores, rebounds, creates havoc and shares the ball so well.   She will fit in nicely at UWO— she’s going to bring speed, hustle and a never-quit mindset.”

As for Rohde, she also earned AP State Coach of the Year, the second time she has won the award.

Rohde, with a career record of 230-62, has joined elite company, having won four state championships with Notre Dame over her tenure, something only five other coaches all time have done in the state of Wisconsin.

She said, “Huge shoutout to the amazing girls I get to coach– they make WI winters much more enjoyable! My fantastic staff— I feel so fortunate to have Eliza, Katelyn, Timmy, Olivia and Eric on my staff— they do an incredible job with our players, and we have fun. our managers for all their time, our booster club and families for all their support, Matt and Anthony for all their behind-the-scenes work, AJ Gio for his dedication to making our kids better athletes, Lauren our trainer, and of course my husband, Matt, and my kids and my family for supporting me in doing something I love!”

Now that next season lies ahead, the Tritons know that even though they won, they’re not done.