The 14-year-old Lake Oswego fencer recovered from an ankle injury to win in mens foil

Will Wise recently won the District 3 gold medal in men's foil at nationals in Ohio.As a very young boy, Will Wise was involved in multiple sports and enjoyed competing. And, like many young boys, he was also interested in swords. So when he saw something during the Olympics that combined the two, he was hooked.

Wise, now 14 years old and an eighth-grader at Lakeridge Junior High, was hooked on fencing even before he was allowed to train in the sport.

“You had to be 8 years old before you started taking lessons. He begged and begged us, and they allowed him in when he was 7,” said his mom, Sharon.

For the next few years, Wise began training and practicing, and his instructors quickly took notice.

“To be honest, I still don't entirely understand the sport,” Sharon Wise said with a laugh. “But early on, one of the coaches came up to us and said, 'You've got a fencer here.' And we heard a lot that he had potential.”

When he reached the age of 12, Will Wise was able to start qualifying for competitions. His increased dedication to the sport forced him to choose it over others like football, soccer and baseball, but he is still passionate about basketball and continues to play in the winter.

Last year, Wise qualified for the Junior Olympics, an impressive achievement which saw him facing opponents as old as 18.

In the past year, he has started practicing as much as four times as week for two to three hours and gets one-on-one training with coaches at Northwest Fencing Center.

In the winters he dials down the training slightly during basketball season. Over the course of a year, Wise will compete in as many as 12 competitions, traveling across the nation occasionally and seeing some of the top fencers in the country.

“We always tell him that grades come first and those need to stay up for us to go to competitions,” his mother said.

Last fall, Wise qualified for nationals but was dealt a blow shortly thereafter. During the winter, Wise injured his ankle while skateboarding, breaking it in four places.

At the time, it was unsure if he would be able to attend nationals in July. He recovered just before the event but was expected to be understandably rusty.

Competing at the Division 3 level in men's foil, Wise took on a field of nearly 400 participants. He steadily started working his way through opponents and, midway through the competition, it became apparent that he had an opportunity to take home the title.

Wise continued to fence at the top of this game, claiming the championship at nationals and earning a gold medal.

Wise has since given up skateboarding and is gearing up for another busy season.

With another strong year, he hopes to qualify for the European circuit, which would open up more opportunities for him.

“The ultimate goal for every fencer is to make it to the Olympics, but right now he's just focused on getting better,” Sharon Wise said.

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