Claudia Martinez was seeking to become just the fourth female wrestler in school history to qualify for the CIF State Girls Wrestling Tournament.
The Central Valley sophomore fell two wins shy of joining elite company.
Martinez compiled a 3-2 record on her way to an eighth-place finish in the 101-pound bracket at the Regional Invitational, staged Feb. 6-7, at Lodi's McNair High School.
"She shouldn't be disappointed," Hawks head coach Rob Beckhart said. "She'll get better. She'll have a great career."
The top five finishers in each weight class at Regionals advanced to state.
McKenzie Bacich (Bear Creek), Donita Guanzon (Vallejo), Micaela Kent (Enochs), Mai Hill (Weston Ranch) and Esmeralda Arroyo (Elk Grove) all earned berths. Diona Freitas (Yuba City) was named an alternate.
Jessica Valencia (Galt) placed seventh with a 4-2 record.
Martinez collected wins against Lincoln of Stockton's Tatiana Rotor (major decision, 9-0), Sierra's Alana Castor (pin, 5:36) and Gregori's Leeann Stuart (decision, 7-5).
She lost to eventual-champion Bacich (decision, 6-0) and fifth-place finisher Arroyo (decision, 4-2).
Arroyo edged Martinez in overtime.
"She would have been a placer with one more win," Beckhart said.
Claudia had a 25-13 overall record this year.
She won two of eight matches against male competitors. She lost three times at the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
Martinez joined Central Valley's wrestling program after taking a three-year break from the sport.
Claudia finished first against female competition at Central Valley and Atwater, second at Pacheco and Pitman, and fifth at Pittsburg.
Martinez will look to follow in the footsteps of former Central Valley grapplers Lexy Cordova, Malynda Lomeli and Rose Moore.
Cordova, Lomeli and Moore all qualified for the State Invitational.
Claudia and Rose are cousins.
Martinez made a name for herself at the youth level with the Ceres Hawks Wrestling Club.
She won titles at the Kids Folkstyle State Championships in 2011 and 2010. She placed second in 2009. Claudia took second twice and third once at the freestyle state competition.
"Wrestling is a humbling sport," Beckhart said. "Everybody loses. It doesn't matter how good you are. Claudia has the potential to be a state-placer. I like her work ethic. She's not a complainer."