Mendoza, a sophomore, took second place in the 132-pound freestyle division at the California Freestyle State Championships on April 27 at Selland Arena in Fresno, qualifying her for a spot at the national tournament, to take place July 14 to 21, on the campus of North Dakota State University.
“A lot of kids are talented athletes but they are afraid to try when the going gets tough,” Patterson wrestling coach Lee Scoles said. “Jasmine isn’t one of those kids. She’s always going to give you her best effort, and you want to be a part of that. You look forward to helping her succeed.”
Mendoza, who claimed the 132-pound national freestyle title as a freshman, hopes to take that confidence and momentum into next month’s tournament, where she hopes to cap her solid season with another gold medal.
“Winning another (national championship) would mean a lot to me,” Mendoza said. “I want to be a two-time champion. I plan on going for four (national titles) in a row and hopefully, one day, compete at the Olympics.”
In February, Mendoza made history at Patterson.
The No. 2 seed in the 132-pound division, she went 4-0 with three pins in the Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Wrestling Championship, winning the six-person bracket by pinning Mallory Velle of Sacramento’s Christian Brothers High in the second round of the championship match.
Mendoza was not only the first female wrestler to win a title for the Tigers in the three-year history of the section girls tournament, but also the first wrestler from the school — male or female — ever to do so.
“I was very proud of myself,” Mendoza said. “It was also a great opportunity to show support for Patterson High and to represent the community.”
Scoles and local gymnasium Patterson Health & Fitness have collaborated to provide community members with a day of all-ages wrestling activities and instruction as part of a fundraising effort to cover Mendoza’s travel expenses.
The clinic will take place June 23, a Saturday, inside Patterson Health & Fitness, 39 N. Third St.
“We’ll talk about the keys to being a successful wrestler,” Scoles said. “We’ll talk about how to properly work out, and how to maximize your potential as an athlete. We’ll try to impact and educate participants.”
Mendoza was given a complimentary two-month membership to the local gym recently in recognition of her achievements on the mat.
“Thanks to Patterson Health & Fitness, (Mendoza) has a place where she can properly train and work out,” Scoles said.
“I can’t do this all by myself,” Mendoza added. “It doesn’t hurt to ask for help.”
To further offset some of the costs for Mendoza’s trip, Scoles also plans to organize a benefit car wash.
“If I could carry her on my back to Fargo, I would,” Scoles said. “She almost makes you want to consider doing that.
“She’s doing things that aren’t easy to achieve. She believes in who she is versus what she does.”
The national tournament will not only go down as a valuable learning experience, but as a way to measure herself against some of the best wrestling talent the country has to offer, Mendoza said.
“When I practice, I go in with the mentality to work as hard as I can,” Mendoza said. “That’s what it comes down to — who worked the hardest. If you’re the hardest worker in the room, then no one can take what you deserve.”
For information: Lee Scoles, 585-7159; or Patterson Health & Fitness, 892-8091.