ShareThis Page

Former Derry wrestler Jimmy Gulibon learning ropes at Penn State

| Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, 9:15 p.m.
(Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review)
Derry Area's Jimmy Gulibon looks to score on Keystone Oaks' Nick Zanetta in their 126-lb championship bout during the PIAA Class AA Individual Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa on March 10, 2012. Gulibon won his fourth state title with a 9-3 decision. (Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review)
Judge John J. Driscoll congratulates Norwin senior Kasey Kemp with the Top Female Scholar-Athlete Award and Derry senior Jimmy Gulibon with the Top Male Scholar Athlete Award, during the 2012 Scholar Athlete Awards, presented by Judge John J. Driscoll, held at Ferrante's Lakeview in Greensburg on Tuesday evening, April 24, 2012. Kim Stepinsky | For The Tribune-Review
(Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review)
Derry Area's Jimmy Gulibon is declared champion after defeating Keystone Oaks' Nick Zanetta with a 9-3 decision in their 126-lb championship bout during the PIAA Class AA Individual Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa on March 10, 2012. Gulibon won his fourth state title becoming only the tenth Pennsylvania wrestler to do so. (Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review) BLR PIAA-AA0311 3.jpg goes with story by Schofield intended for publication in PGH & GBG on March 11, 2012.

When you talk to Jimmy Gulibon, he comes across as soft-spoken and easy going. He's not overly talkative — humble, you could say.

When he gets on the wrestling mat, however, it's the complete opposite. He combines his lightning-quick moves with his strength and intensity to form an aggressive approach.

After a heralded career at Derry, Gulibon is a redshirt freshman on the Penn State wrestling team. The Nittany Lions, perhaps now the premier wrestling program in America, have won the past two NCAA Division I National Championships and appear poised to win a third this season.

Despite the redshirt to adjust to a much higher level of competition and campus life, Gulibon (133 pounds) has seized every opportunity to make the most of his first year in Happy Valley.

“It's really been a great experience so far,” he said. “I go in every day and just do the best I can to keep improving and try to get better. I really like everything about the program and university. The coaches, my teammates and facilities are all really amazing.”

He also doesn't have to look far to find top-notch competition to train with on a daily basis.

Penn State (4-0 and ranked No. 2) has a bevy of All-Americans and highly touted wrestlers.

“Practicing here has been incredible,” he said. “The level of competition and intensity is amazing. Every day is very hard but very rewarding. The team is great, and there are so many great wrestlers — it just forces you to go so hard every day.”

Much like most of his teammates, Gulibon came to Penn State after a successful high school career. Gulibon won four straight PIAA championships — an extremely rare feat — and posted a career 134-4 mark for the Trojans. He also won four Powerade National championships, and competed in the 2012 Dream Team tournaments.

Despite the redshirt, Gulibon got to wrestle in the esteemed Nittany Lion Open in early December. As far as collegiate debuts go, it couldn't have gone much better.

Gulibon went 4-1, with the lone defeat coming in the finals — an intense 3-2 loss to Lehigh's Mason Beckman.

“It was a great start,” he said “I was a little nervous and hesitant at first. Once I relaxed and started to open up, I did a lot better. I learned some things I need to improve on, and I can't wait to see (Beckman) again.”

Gulibon recorded wins over Clarion's Hunter Jones (15-0), Central Michigan's Mark Grey (8-6) and teammate Frank Martelotti (7-2) prior to the finals.

Gulibon said one of the biggest adjustments in the transition from the WPIAL to the NCAA — especially at its top level — is simply getting through the challenging day-to-day practices. While he said he spent more time practicing in high school, it's the toll of matching up against elite competition on a daily basis that becomes a grind in college.

“Now the biggest difference is just everybody here is very good,” he said. “All my teammates wrestle very hard. The thing I really like, though, is when you do have bad practices the coaches here do a great job of getting you back on track.”

Gulibon will be in action again Jan. 1-2 at the Southern Scuffle — a two-day tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“It's almost time to go again,” he said. “I'm very excited for the challenge of going down there.”

Brian Hunger is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.