PITTSFIELD -- Jordan Knowlton may never have wrestled in a state meet, but he already has the right attitude for Division III's biggest stage this weekend.
"You've got to want it," the Taconic senior said. "Think positive, and just hit a move when they're there."
Knowlton is one of four Braves headed for Foxborough on Friday, where the MIAA Division III meet will be held. He earned his spot with a fourth-place finish at 160 pounds in Saturday's Western Mass. meet in Holyoke.
It hasn't all been smooth in an 18-15 season for Knowlton. He's fought through knee problems all winter, thanks to a meniscus tear in his right knee that happened during football season.
He doesn't think he's quite back at 100 percent with the knee, but you wouldn't be able to tell from watching him on the mats.
"He was really dedicated throughout the season," Taconic interim coach Jeremy Tetreault said. "He'd force himself to do stuff that other kids wouldn't do. He's pretty resilient in that matter."
Knowlton said that, midway through the season, he felt like the knee was as good as it was going to be. From there, he moved forward and earned the No. 6 seed at 160 for the sectional meet. He feels he got good on his feet and developed a solid cradle, with both helping him on the mats all the way into the postseason.
On his way to states -- a berth he clinched in the consolation rounds with a pin of Sabis' Kyle Pingree -- Knowlton beat No. 5-seeded Craig Cooley of Monument Mountain to earn a semifinal berth against Franklin Tech's top seed, Kyle Laffey.
Laffey pinned Knowlton in the first period, but the Brave got the consolation pin of Pingree before being pinned in the third-place match by Mount Greylock's David O'Brien.
"It was an ‘Oh, man, I don't know how I got here' type of thing," Knowlton said of clinching a trip to states. "We had a lot of good wrestlers [in the bracket].
"You've got O'Brien, [and Perez] from Dean Tech and a lot of good wrestlers. ... I thought I was a little bit in the lower brackets, because everybody else had experience."
Knowlton isn't seeded in the Division III state draw at 160, and will face a tough test in his tournament opener against Wayland's Ryan Bache, the Central Mass. champion and No. 2 overall seed in the bracket.
Tetreault, though, won't count Knowlton out.
"Going in there as a 4 from the west, he's going to be overlooked by some kids, but we'll see how it goes," the coach said.
"He's one of those kids who can see a move, and he's got the athletic ability and raw talent. The only thing he's really lacking is experience."
To reach Matthew Sprague:
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On Twitter: @BE_MSprague.