Mendoza was the runner-up in the 139-pound junior freestyle weight class, finishing behind gold medalist Alexis Porter of New York at the Fargodome.
The 16-year-old also took third place in the 132-pound cadet freestyle bracket, winning the bronze by pinning Jessica Rodriguez, also of California.
Wrestlers born in 1996 and 1997 were eligible for the cadet division. The junior division comprised wrestlers born Sept. 1, 1992, and later who were enrolled in grades 9 through 12 during the 2012 spring semester.
“I think I did pretty good (at the national tournament),” Mendoza said. “It was also a great opportunity to show support for Patterson High and to represent the community.”
The tournament, which began with the girls’ competition July 14 and continued through July 21, included wrestlers representing nearly every state. Matches were held in freestyle and Greco-Roman formats across 16 weight classes.
A 2011 cadet freestyle national champion, Mendoza 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, on the campus of North Dakota State University.
She had hoped to cap her season with another gold medal.
“I put too much mental emphasis on what I was doing (on the mat). I was stressing myself out,” Mendoza said. “I was really looking forward to finishing (in first place). So next year, when I return (to the national tournament), I know that I’ll be ready.”
In February, Mendoza went 4-0 with three pins in the Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Wrestling Championship, winning the six-person bracket. She 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 in fact the first wrestler from the school, male or female, ever to do so.
“It takes a certain mindset to be a wrestler. Jasmine has that mindset,” said Lee Scoles, Patterson High wrestling coach. “You don’t plan on going to (the national tournament) to lose — that’s not her emotional makeup.
“I know she’ll come back and do whatever is necessary to be successful.”
To cover some of the costs of Mendoza’s trip to Fargo, Scoles organized a benefit wrestling camp last month that raised about $200 . Financial support from the local community and others also generated about $1,000 in donations to help the grappler attend the national tournament.
“There were so many people from Patterson that helped me — too many to name,” Mendoza said. “I am really thankful for all of the support the community has shown me.”
The national tournament was not only a valuable learning experience for Mendoza, but also a way to measure herself against some of the best wrestling talent the country has to offer, Scoles said.
“She’s doing things that aren’t easy to achieve,” Scoles said. “She believes in who she is versus what she does.”