South Charlotte

Athlete of the week: Compact Knight kicker has a far reach on the field

Wes Medeiros is listed at 5-foot-8, 150 pounds in the program, but the Charlotte Christian junior kicker will be the first one to tell you he's more like 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds.

Medeiros' size has never stopped him from making an impact since the day he joined the Charlotte Christian football team three years ago.

"Being smaller is something I've always had to deal with and there's nothing I can really do about it," said Medeiros. "It's really something I have always looked at as a challenge. I have always tried to make the best of what I have."

Medeiros started doing that in little league football, where he could already kick 35- to 40-yard field goals by the age of 12.

Medeiros was featured in "Little Panthers Game of the Week," booming kicks, punts and playing quarterback for Lake Norman area team in the Pop Warner league.

Medeiros also wowed coaches in summer camps, including the Pittsburgh Steelers camp with former Steeler and East Mecklenburg kicker Jeff Reed holding.

Medeiros was also selected to play in the 2009 U.S. Army Junior All-American game, where he kicked three field goals, including the game-winner, to lead his East team to a 16-14 win.

Medeiros didn't let his early success go to his head, mainly because his coach and father, Paul Medeiros, who is now also the Charlotte Christian special teams' coach, encouraged him to keep working on his craft.

Paul was also a kicker in high school and college at Tufts University (Mass.).

"My dad has always been my main coach and is the biggest contributor to my success," said Medeiros, who also goes to 8 to 10 kicking camps a year.

Medeiros was good from the start at Christian, becoming the starter his freshman year for the Knights, following in the footsteps of former Knight kicker, Will Kamin, now starting kicker at Richmond.

He wasted little time proving himself, going 40-for-42 on extra points and 6-for-8 on field goals in his first varsity season, including the game-winning field goal to give his team a 38-35 victory over rival Charlotte Latin.

"That was a great moment for me and our team and it really gave me a lot of confidence," said Medeiros. "But I try to look at every kick the same and have the same routine. I try not to think of the situation. I try to picture that it is just me, my snapper (Garrett Bradbury) and my holder (Sam Dexter) and nobody else."

As a sophomore, Medeiros was 38-for-39 on extra points, while nailing 7 of his 10 field goal attempts.

This year, Medeiros is not only the kicker for extra points, field goals and kickoffs, but also the punter.

Medeiros has established himself as one of the best punters in the Charlotte area, averaging nearly 44 yards per punt.

Nine of his 18 punts have also been downed inside Christian's opponents' 20-yard line.

Medeiros hasn't stopped kicking at a high rate either, as he is 16-for-16 on extra points and 3-for-4 on field goals including a career best 40-yarder.

Medeiros took over the game in a 17-8 win over First Assembly earlier this season, booting two extra points, one field goal and three touchbacks on kickoffs, while averaging 47 yards per punt.

"Wes (Medeiros) is a huge asset to our team," said Charlotte Christian football coach Jason Estep, whose kicker also has 17 touchbacks on 26 kickoffs. "Any time you can win the field position battle with kickoffs and punts, especially, it is a huge factor. I think everyone respects Wes as a player, but that respect goes way beyond the football field."

Medeiros also is a team captain, a rare honor not only for a high school junior, but also a kicker.

Medeiros is equally as talented in the classroom, where he holds a 3.93 grade-point average.

Medeiros hopes to go to one of the service academies.

The Naval Academy currently tops his list but he is also interested in Air Force and Army (West Point).

Whether his collegiate future includes football, Medeiros is focused on making a big impact.

"I definitely want to go to one of the service academies and have a future military career, that is my number one goal," Medeiros said. "It would be great to also playing college football while I do that. That would be a dream, come true."