Nolan McCaig's belief in his abilities never wavered.
The experience of finishing in the top four three times-including second twice-at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Individual Singles Tennis Championships, fueled the Ceres High senior's desire to reach the pinnacle of his sport.
"Even when I didn't win the section title, I didn't doubt myself," McCaig said. "Obviously, it was hard losing. I was sad and mad after I lost each year. But I never thought I wouldn't get it. I learned from my mistakes and brought everything together my last year. It feels really good."
Seeded first, Nolan dominated all three of his opponents en route to claiming the title at the 2017 section tournament on May 16 at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville.
McCaig defeated River Valley's Luvdeep Bal 6-3, 6-2 in the finals.
He also collected victories against Oakmont's Marshall Comia (6-1, 6-1) and Laguna Creek's Henry Huang (6-2, 6-2).
"I didn't feel any added pressure," Nolan said. "I was really confident the moment I stepped on the court. As each match went on, I felt more comfortable. When I reached the finals, I was at the peak of my game. I zoned in. I played at a high level. I felt unstoppable. It's really awesome to cap my high school career off with a section title."
Nolan won all 23 of his matches this spring.
He captured his fourth consecutive Western Athletic Conference singles crown.
McCaig was voted WAC Most Valuable Player for the fourth year in a row.
"I'm just really proud to win the section title as a Bulldog," McCaig said. "I won it for my school and team. That's what makes it so special. I'm always going to remember this. I'm really happy."
McCaig's career record while starring at No. 1 singles was 100-4.
He had a perfect 63-0 mark against conference competition.
Nolan led Ceres High to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship in 2015.
The Bulldogs also claimed three WAC titles and participated in the playoffs four times.
Nolan will be remembered as Ceres High's all-time greatest tennis player.
"I'm just pretty proud of everything I was able to accomplish individually and as a team," McCaig said. "It's been really special to be a part of the Ceres High tennis program. Going in as a freshman, I didn't know what to expect. I really didn't have any goals. Every year, I learned something new. I always maintained my focus. My mindset and intensity remained the same. My intelligence on the court grew. Overall, it was an amazing experience."
Nolan will continue his playing career at Midwestern State University in Texas. He signed a national letter of intent with the Mustangs last month.
"Tennis is my life," McCaig said. "Without my parents, I wouldn't be at the level I am right now. They've always pushed me."