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McCaig to play college tennis in Texas
Recent Ceres High grad Nolan McCaig earned a scholarship to Midwestern State University. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

A standout on Ceres High's varsity boys tennis team for four seasons, recent Bulldog grad Nolan McCaig will continue his athletic career at Midwestern State University in Texas.

"I've been working my whole life to play college tennis," said McCaig, who signed a national letter of intent with the Mustangs on April 13. "It's pretty exciting to get a scholarship. It motivates me to do my best and help the team."

Nolan made a video and sent it to three colleges during the recruiting process, including Midwestern State, Holy Names University and Northern Arizona University.

He visited Midwestern State in December.

"I really liked the campus," said McCaig, who will major in criminology. "I met the coach. I practiced with the team. They're really good players. They're friendly."

McCaig will battle for a starting position in the Mustangs' lineup as a freshman.

Midwestern State University ranked No. 23 in the 2017 NCAA Division-II Men's Team rankings

The Mustangs compiled a 14-11 record and advanced to the South Central Region #2 Championship.

"My goal is to work my way to the top spot and help the team become better," McCaig said. "It's going to be fun. Hopefully, I can fulfill my potential."

Seeded first, Nolan dominated all three of his opponents en route to claiming the title at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Individual Singles Championships on May 16 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).

The experience of finishing in the top four three times-including second twice-at the section tournament fueled Nolan'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."

McCaig won all 23 of his matches this past spring.

He captured his fourth consecutive Western Athletic Conference singles crown.

Nolan was voted WAC Most Valuable Player for the fourth year in a row.

McCaig's career record while starring at No. 1 singles was 100-4.

He had a perfect 63-0 mark against conference competition.

McCaig 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.

"I'm proud of myself," Nolan said. "All of my hard work paid off."

Nolan and his younger brother Coby battled outside of school daily.

Coby won the Division-I section title as a freshman standout at Modesto High in 2016.

He claimed the Modesto Metro Conference singles championship his sophomore year.

"Ever since we were little, we always helped each other," Nolan said. "We understand how important practicing together is. It makes us a lot better."

Nolan started playing tennis at the age of seven.

"A lot of it (my success) has to do with my parents and coaches," McCaig said. "They've really motivated me. They pushed me to be better as a player and person."

Nolan will be remembered as Ceres High's all-time greatest tennis player.

"He never lost a league match," Bulldogs' head coach Brandon Moring said. "His skill set was never challenged until we went to the individual singles section tournament. You really saw how good he was. He worked hard every day. He was the ultimate team player. He sacrificed his own time for the betterment of the team."

Added McCaig: "It's really special to know I'm at the top."