Coby McCaig expects to be the No. 1 seed when the Sac-Joaquin Section releases its draw for the Division I tournament.
The Modesto High junior says his body of work speaks for itself: He's a former Division I champion, the top returning player in the section after reaching last spring's final, and now a two-time defending league champion.
"I don't know who is going to be there," McCaig said, "but with my ranking (combined) with what I've done in previous years, I don't see why I shouldn't be the No. 1 seed.
"It won't matter, because it's really just a number. I'm looking forward to winning the tournament."
McCaig steams into the section tournament after blowing through the two-day Modesto Metro Conference Singles Tournament like a locomotive.
McCaig yielded just one game in four matches and needed less than 40 minutes to put away Enochs High sophomore Brian Pham in the final at Modesto Junior College, 6-0 and 6-0.
"This definitely gives me more confidence going into sections," McCaig said. "I'm more confident than I was last year. I'm looking forward to winning (sections) this year."
McCaig has appeared in three straight MMC finals, defeating Pham in straight sets in the last two. McCaig lost to former Beyer High star Ryan Lewis, now at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, as a freshman, but avenged that loss in the final of the Division I section tournament.
Since then, he's been untouchable in the MMC.
His only loss in the last two years was to UC Davis freshman Chethan Swanson, formerly of Folsom High, in last year's Division I final. McCaig, who says he's being recruited by Fresno State, UC Davis and the University of San Diego, led in both sets in a 7-5, 6-2 loss.
"My strokes have gotten stronger. I'm hitting the ball with more power. And also, mentally, I'm a lot better," McCaig said. "I've learned to focus more and that's helped me win more matches in my tournaments. I've always been known to be a strong mental player, which has helped with my success, but there's more room for improvement."
His mental prowess showed in his rematch with Pham. Last spring, Pham forced McCaig into several deuce games, putting a bit of pressure on the Stanislaus District's No. 1 singles player.
On Thursday, McCaig said his ability to control his emotions and silence negative thought helped him avoid deuce games.
"I've hit my peak," said McCaig, who took on a national schedule over the summer, winning matches in major USTA tournaments in Florida and Michigan. "I'm hitting the ball really well right now. I feel like I'm playing my best tennis."
The Sac-Joaquin Section Division I and II singles and doubles tournaments will be played at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville on Wednesday and Thursday, May 2-3. The seeding meeting will take place Wednesday morning; tournament play will immediately follow.