Fulgenzi-Northern Notes

Former Robertson High volleyball coach Stacy Fulgenzi shows off the state championship ring her former players and their parents pitched in to buy following a title run last November. Fulgenzi was suspended during the state tournament and later fired for her role in a fundraiser.

We know that Saturday was supposed to be the University of New Mexico’s football opener.

We also know that the cancellation of their home opener against San Jose State on Halloween night is all but a foregone conclusion given the huge numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in Bernalillo County the past two weeks.

To beat a dead horse, the two-week average case count cannot exceed 8 per 100,000 residents in the county of a school’s location. Doing some quick arithmetic, the county — which had a population of 679,121 in 2019 according to the U.S. Census Bureau — could not surpass 55 cases a day if the Lobos were to get back onto the field.

The state will update its figures Monday, but the cold, hard truth is that Bernalillo County has had at least 125 cases over a 13-day span between Oct. 12 and Saturday’s count. The rolling two-week average will be close to triple the 8-per-100,000 ratio.

Unless the state decides to use the “new math” proposed by UNM officials last week, the question isn’t when the Lobos will take the field — but if. The formula UNM has proposed follows its low-positivity rate inside its own athletics bubble, which is well below the state threshold for allowable play.

Wishful thinking.

The number strongly suggest that the Lobos won’t be cleared to play anytime soon. The home opener is probably out and the Nov. 7 trip to Hawaii is in danger. Same, too, for the Nov. 14 home date against Nevada. That’s half the season wiped out due to COVID-19, raising the question of whether or not it’s even worth trying to play this year.

Check back Monday when the state updates its two-week averages, then do the math.

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It was a messy end for Stacy Fulgenzi as the volleyball coach at Las Vegas Robertson. Officially fired as a teacher and coach last month, she went through a lengthy court battle and months of stress in a futile attempt to save her job.

Suspended for her role in a fundraiser last season, she was forced to sit in the stands as the Lady Cardinals went on to win the Class 3A state championship in Rio Rancho. Her players brought her down to the court for a postgame celebration that ended one of the weirdest drama-filled seasons most people care to remember.

The team paid further tribute to her last week by rewarding her with a state championship ring, a gift she said was purchased through the efforts of her players and their parents.

Class move on their part, closing the book on what will probably be a short time away from the game for Fulgenzi. It shouldn’t be long before she’s back on the sidelines for someone else.

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Let’s take a look around Twitter for two of this week’s more interesting takes:

“I ain’t never been so uninterested in talking to people as I am now as this point in my life.”

— From former UNM men’s basketball player Zane Martin, who left the Lobos to transfer back to Towson (the school he started with as a freshman) this summer.

“State Basketball Tournament year after year as a boy inspired me. Wouldn’t be where I am today without The Pit’s glow and inspiration! Blessed to have been able to walk up and down that ramp year after year. #Lobo4Life #GoLobos

— Santa Fe native Estevan Sandoval, a former player at St. Michael’s, then manager and staff member with UNM’s men’s basketball team (now an assistant at Western Texas College) as he replied to the Lobos’ initial tweet asking for people to share their first memory of The Pit.

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If your thirst for high school football is too much to take, bummer. They’re playing it pretty much everywhere. As of this week, 34 states had prep ball

up and running. But New Mexico joined the entire Pacific Coast in holding off until 2021 as Washington, Oregon, California and even Hawaii decided to kick off their football seasons in the spring semester.

They’re definitely playing in Kansas right now. A couple of weeks ago there was an amazing individual performance that undoubtedly had people scrolling through record books. Lakin Farmer (a name, not a place) rushed for 533 yards and six touchdowns, leading Halstead High to a 48-34 win at Hesston on Oct. 9. A senior running back, Farmer had 35 carries with a long of 95 yards, averaging 15.2 yards per attempt.

KWCH-TV out of Wichita reported that it was the second-highest single-game mark in state history. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations record book — whose records are apparently not up to date — it’s the second-highest single game total in the country’s history, second only to the 582 a player from Louisiana posted years before.

New Mexico’s all-time single game record? It belongs to Cesar Quintana of Estancia, who rushed for 504 against Capitan in 2014. His teammate, Adam Lujan, rushed for 459 against Capitan the next season to put a pair of Bears at 1-2 atop the state’s rushing standard.

Miss you, football.

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It was one year ago this week that Santa Fe High’s J.B. White gave a verbal commitment to UNM’s men’s basketball team, ending what surely would have become a battle of last-minute recruiting wars to land one of the most talented high school players to come out of Northern New Mexico.

The Lobos officially opened their preseason camp last week, costing all of us a chance to see what the Demons star could have done at the major-college level.

White was shot dead this summer at a party outside Santa Fe.

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Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially high school football.

As Fox came out of a commercial break for Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night, an aerial shot of Globe Life Park in Arlington was shown while announcer Joe Buck talked about a high school football game going on across the street at the former home of the Texas Rangers.

The idea of prep football being played in cathedral like that seems downright foreign here in New Mexico.

Let’s face it, the notion of playing the state championship games in University Stadium seems like a colossal waste of time because its 37,000 seats are about six times more than what’s typically required for even the biggest games.

In Texas, not so much. Just last week the Lamar (Texas) Consolidated Independent School District outside of Houston released architectural renderings of a proposed $93.7 million prep football stadium that would seat approximately 10,000 fans. For reference, Isotopes Park only cost $28 million less than 20 years ago. The Pit, in 1960s dollars, was less than $2 million.

The largest high school facility in New Mexico is Watson Memorial Stadium in Hobbs, which can seat up to 15,000. Santa Fe’s Ivan Head Stadium can fit around 6,000. The largest in Texas has is Toyota Stadium in Frisco, which has 20,500 chairback seats, with modern lighting and a grandstand that encircles the entire field. It’s one of at least 10 Texas stadiums with a capacity larger than anything in New Mexico.

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