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Fulgenzi family to be honored

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By Caitie Ihrig

The Fulgenzi family is known for its tennis skills at Robertson High School and across New Mexico, as they have multiple state and doubles state championship titles, hall of fame awards and a tennis court named after them.

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Tuesday, the family will be recognized by the New Mexico Activities Association during the Hall of Fame ceremony as they receive the Award of Distinction
for 2019.

Their reign started in 1946 with Gene Fulgenzi, known as “the Godfather,” when he and Billy Rapp were state runners-up in doubles. Two years later, Gene was a singles state champion and a doubles champion with Rapp. They repeated both wins the following year.

Then in 1960, Gene’s brother, Leroy Fulgenzi, was the singles state runner up. He then enrolled at New Mexico Highlands University, where he won a conference title in 1961 when they competed in the Frontier Conference.

Dennis Fulgenzi, Gene’s son, won state doubles in 1985 for St. Michael’s and is a five-time sectional champion and a one-time national champion. He went on to play at the college level for Virginia Tech.

Leroy has six sons: Garon Fulgenzi, Warren Fulgenzi, Juan Carlos Fulgenzi, Giorgio Fulgenzi, Mario Fulgenzi, and Roman Fulgenzi, who all have numerous state titles.

In 1982, Garon and Randy Garcia were state double runnersup, and the following year, Garon and Warren were state double champions.

Warren was the state singles runner up in 1984 and 1986.

Warren then played at the University of New Mexico, where he was a Western Athletic Conference doubles and team champion. He also has 15 Southwest Sectional Championships, six National Championships and one World Doubles Championship.

Juan Carlos made a five- year run in the state championship tournament. Starting in 1994, Juan Carlos and Jason Garcia were the doubles champion and then were the runner ups the following year. From 1996 until 1998, Juan Carlos was the singles champion.

In 2001 and 2002, Giorgio and Mario were the state doubles champions and Mario was the state singles champion in 2003 and 2004. Roman Fulgenzi and Emilio Garcia were state doubles champions in 2005 and in 2006 and 2007, Roman Fulgenzi was the state singles runner up and champion, respectively.

The Fulgenzi family did not bring home any more titles until 2014, when they began to dominate the state tournament.

Jaci Fulgenzi and Jenese Fulgenzi were double runner ups in 2014, 2016 and 2017 and they took home the championship title in 2015. In 2018, Jenese Fulgenzi played doubles with Lauren Fulgenzi and they were the champions. In 2016 and 2017 Lauren Fulgenzi brought home doubles championship wins with Brandelyn Fulgenzi who won the singles title in 2015 and 2018.

Warren Fulgenzi Jr. was the singles state champion in 2015 and 2016. In 2018, Nico Fulgenzi and Gabe Gregory were the doubles champions.

Warren Jr. went on to play at Our Lady of the Lake University and Brandelyn continued her career at Our Lady of Incarnate Word. Both are in San Antonio, Texas. Jaci now plays at Western New Mexico University and Jenese at New Mexico Military Institute.

Besides numerous individual state championships, they have nine team state titles.
Juan Carlos never won a team state championship as a player, but they were the runner up in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Giorgio and Mario were runner ups in 2001 and then Mario took the championship in 2003. The Cardinals were runnersup the next two years with Mario in 2004 and Roman in 2005. Roman and the rest of the Robertson tennis team won the championship in 2006 and 2007.

In 2014 Jaci and Jenese were state team champions and they reclaimed the title 160 with Brandelyn in 2015. Warren Jr. and the Cardinals were champions that year and then were runnersup the following year. Brandelyn, Lauren, Jaci and Jenese took the state title in 2016 and 2017 and then Brandelyn, Lauren and Jenesse won the team championship in 2018.

In 2018, Nico and the Cardinals were the state runnersup.

Leroy is a 1965 graduate of Highlands and in 2003 was inducted into their Hall of Fame. He is also on Robertson’s Wall of Honor due to coaching the Cardinals for 32 years, from 1966–1988, where they won two team and 11 individual titles. In the 1980s he was nominated twice for National High School Tennis Coach of the Year. The Robertson tennis courts were named after him in 2006.

The Fulgenzis have been named the New Mexico Tennis Family of the Year twice along with the South West Tennis Family of the Year. They were nominated for the National Tennis Family of the Year.

Juan Carlos is now the athletic director for Robertson — a title he got in 2011. From 2002 until 2011 he was the tennis coach, and then Roman took over until 2016. Now, Warren is the tennis coach and Juan Carlos is the assistant.

In 2016, Roman and Warren were named New Mexico High School Coaches Association Tennis Coach of the Year.

Juan Carlos said none of their accomplishments would have been possible without his mom, Roberta Elaine, who was a good support.