Another honor has come Jimmy Gulibon’s way — putting his name alongside all-time WPIAL greats.
The former Derry Area and Penn State University standout wrestler was recently named to the 14th annual class of the WPIAL Hall of Fame. The honor came one month after he was named to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame.
With his most recent induction, Gulibon joins some all-time sports greats in the WPIAL Hall of Fame, including Arnold Palmer, Dick Groat and Stan Musial.
“I never really thought of that,” Gulibon said when considering his name among those athletes in the Hall of Fame. “It’s pretty neat to be in the Hall of Fame among athletes like that.”
This year’s inductees — including Greater Latrobe’s Natalie Bower Toman and Michaela Kissell Eddins — will be considered the WPIAL Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
This year’s Hall of Fame banquet was postponed because of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the class will be honored during a banquet, currently scheduled for May 28, 2021, at the Double Tree by Hilton in Green Tree.
Gulibon, 25, has had a long and decorated wrestling career, spanning from Junior Olympics to Derry Area, and then Penn State University.
He is one of 13 wrestlers in Pennsylvania to claim four PIAA state championships, and one of 28 grapplers to capture four WPIAL titles. He also won four Powerade Tournament titles as a Trojan.
“It’s an honor,” Gulibon said of his most recent induction. “I put a lot of hard work in over the years, and it’s nice to see that it paid off.”
During his Derry Area career, Gulibon amassed 136 wins and lost just four matches.
He went 39-1 wrestling at 103, before moving up to 112 pounds with a 36-1 record — claiming district and state titles in both years.
Then, as a junior, Gulibon again went 36-1, this time at wrestling 119 pounds. A midseason knee injury sidelined the Derry Area graduate during his senior year, but he bounced back with a 25-1 record to claim his fourth WPIAL and PIAA titles.
Gulibon’s standout high school wrestling talents led him to Penn State University where he earned a scholarship as a member of the men’s wrestling team.
As a Nittany Lion, he posted a 75-47 record and was a four-time NCAA Tournament qualifier as a starter.
Gulibon went 26-9 as a sophomore at Penn State, placed fifth nationally at 133 pounds and earned All-American honors. He said his fifth-place finish is among his top memories wrestling at Penn State.
Gulibon went 18-15 as a 133-pound freshman at Penn State, he was 14-11 as a junior and 17-12 during his senior year, both at 141 pounds.
The Nittany Lions won two Big Ten team championships and three NCAA titles in four seasons. Being part of PSU’s team success is among Gulibon’s proudest achievements over his wrestling career. As a junior, Gulibon was a Big Ten runner-up at 141 pounds.
Wrestling at 141, and as the lone senior in 2017, Gulibon picked up critical team points during the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships. He went 3-2 with a technical fall and a major helping PSU clinch the national title.
Since graduating from PSU, Gulibon has enjoyed his time away from the sport he’s invested so much into over the years.
“I’m still enjoying my time off,” Gulibon said. “I put a lot of years into the sport. It’s nice to lay back and watch, and not have to worry about competing.”
While he doesn’t see himself coaching right now, he was happy to hear that Derry Area head coach Mike Weinell welcomes the Trojans’ mat legend back anytime.
“(Weinell) was a great coach,” Gulibon said. “I knew him from when I was younger. I was real good friends with his son (Cody).”
Gulibon thanked Weinell, along with Brad Shrum and Joe Qualey, for all they have done to help him throughout his years wrestling at Derry Area.
“There’s a lot of people to thank over the years,” Gulibon added. “All of my family members, dad (James), mom (Kristen), and Pap for being there to support me. As well as family, coaches and friends over the years.”
Ahead of Gulibon’s induction into the Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame in mid-March, Weinell said that the Derry Area wrestling team carries on Gulibon’s legacy in how they practice, even to this day. At practice, the team partakes in a drill they call “Gulibons.”
Though Gulibon wasn’t familiar with the drill done in his name, he said that “it’s cool to see” that he’s considered a role model for the next generation of Derry Area wrestlers.