Cesar Nava's freshman campaign was trying.
Golden Valley's No. 1 singles player was forced to fight through injury for most of the season and it showed in his results.
Guys Nava had grown up going toe-to-toe with were now consistently beating him, particularly friend and sometimes training partner Jordan Cabrera.
Merced's No. 1 swept Nava in three meetings in 2012. A healthy Nava intended for things to be different in 2013.
But even he didn't see his sophomore season coming. Nava went undefeated in Central California Conference play to win the CCC singles crown and earn the title of Sun-Star Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
"My expectations were pretty high," Nava said. "I knew I was in better shape. I knew I was faster and was going to be better than last year.
"Other than being healthy, the biggest difference for me was I really focused in my matches this year.
"Every point, every game, every set, I was always locked in and I didn't get mad.
"Before, I might let a bad shot or a missed point get to me, but this year I really worked hard on staying cool."
Golden Valley head coach Tim Garcia credited assistant coach and former CCC champ Morfuchi Lee with a big hand in Nava's development.
"Cesar got to play against Morfuchi in practice pretty much every day and I think that helped him a lot," Garcia said. "Last year he really battled injuries. He had some tennis elbow and some foot problems.
"This year I had a feeling with him being healthy that the league might be his for the taking."
With Pitman and Turlock's top players graduating, the league title really came down to Nava and Cabrera.
Nava said historically, whomever is better on the day is usually who comes out on top when the two sophomores get together.
This season proved a little different.
Nava didn't yield a set in their three meetings. The first matchup was the closest, with Nava fighting back from an early deficit for a 7-6, 6-4 win. The two met up again for the CCC singles title with Nava producing a 6-1, 6-3 victory.
"The first match with Jordan was when I knew something was different this year," Nava said. "I went down 3-1 in the first set, but fought back and won it. That gave me a lot of confidence.
"My goal was to win CCC, so I'm very happy with the year. Now I want to win it for the next two.
"I know I have to keep working, because everyone else is going to get better and I'm now the one they are gunning for."