WYOMING — Cory Jamieson never had the opportunity to make a deep run in the postseason and compete for a state title during his playing days at Wayland High School.
It has been a completely different story for Jamieson at Grace Bible College.
The tiny Christian school tucked back in a Wyoming neighborhood has become a perennial powerhouse in the National Christian College Athletic Association, and a rash of former Wayland standouts have contributed to the program’s success.
Jamieson, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, is one of five Wayland players on a Tigers’ squad that departed Monday for the NCCAA national championships in Springfield, Mo.
Grace Bible is seeking its third consecutive NCCAA national title.
Jamieson is joined by senior Dan Dame, junior Carl Getty and sophomores Ryan Dame and Greg Salmon.
“In high school, we never got to the state finals or anything like that, so it’s awesome to be sharing these experiences with the other guys from Wayland,” Jamieson said. “It has been awesome to have these guys from Wayland as teammates in college, and it’s like icing on the cake. I graduated with Ryan and Carl, and I’ve been around Dan my whole life too.”
The pipeline from Wayland to Grace Bible began when Jamieson’s brother, Matt, played two years for the Tigers.
Since then, Grace Bible coach Gary Bailey has been adding talent from the Class B school on a consistent basis.
“The reason Wayland guys do so well here is because (Wayland coach) Mike Hudson is a great coach and he cares about his kids,” Bailey said. “He and I are a good mix, and there is no culture shock when they go from him to me.
“They still have freedom to do what they do on the court, and every kid that comes from his program is polite, mannerly and respectful. He’s teaching that at the high school level and it has been an easy transition for them.”
Jamieson, Dan Dame and Ryan Dame are starters for Grace Bible and all average around 10 points per game, while Getty and Salmon provide energy off the bench.
Jamieson was recently named to the all-Midwest Regional first team, and Dan Dame was a second-team selection.
The Wayland players are a close-knit bunch, and many of them have played together since middle school.
“I’ve known all these guys growing up, so it has been fun to take it to college and the next level,” Dan Dame said. “I think it gives us an advantage playing with each other, and the chemistry we had right away was awesome. And it’s cool that our families are close and travel together.”
Grace Bible (28-7) begins its quest for another national title Thursday against the winner of a first-round matchup between Kentucky Christian and Lancaster Bible College.
The Tigers have won an astounding 56 consecutive games against NCCAA opponents, and have been ranked No. 1 since January 2009 — a span of more than 780 days.
Grace Bible will be the overwhelming favorite again this week, but Dan Dame said he isn’t feeling the extra pressure to threepeat.
“As far as pressure, I feel like the pressure isn’t on us,” he said. “We’ve been there, we know the feeling and we know what to expect. I feel the pressure is on the teams we will be playing.”
Jamieson knows teams are aiming to knock the Tigers from their lofty perch.
“We’ve been No. 1 the last three years, so everyone is looking to beat us,” he said. “We’re not showing up as the underdog, and it’s going to be tougher, but our goal every year is to win a nationals and we hope we can go out and do it again.”