Cleveland State Student Is An Olympic Hopeful

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Cole Prince
Cole Prince

An Olympic hopeful, a modern-day cowboy and a Cleveland State student - Monroe County native, Cole Prince is all of these things. His resume boasts five national championships at the Scholastic Clay Target Program in shotgun sports, along with regional and state championships.

Mr. Prince said, “I won my first national title at age 12 and the fifth title this past summer. I’ve finished in the top ten every year.” 

Mr. Prince began dove hunting with his father at six years old. By age nine, Mr. Prince could outshoot anyone in the field. That’s when his father knew he had talent, so he signed him up for the Monroe County Shooters and started coaching him. 

As a top shooter, Mr. Prince was selected as one of three athletes to join a national training team for the year. This team will take Mr. Prince to Arizona, Michigan, Colorado and more states. During the year, he will have the chance to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Shooting Team. The first weekend was in Crossville, and began with mental training. Staying focused is an important skill for the shotgun sports, he said.

“When you are shooting for titles in front of hundreds or thousands of people, you have to be able to focus only on the target and not worry about anything else,” Mr. Prince said.

Sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, SCTP is a national youth clay target program. Students from elementary through college can compete in sports such as trap, skeet and sporting clays, as well as Olympic disciplines like bunker trap and international skeet.

At Cleveland State, Mr. Prince is a Tennessee Promise student majoring in Agribusiness. He will earn his associate degree in May 2023 and plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in Agribusiness.

Bradley Quam, Cleveland State adjunct instructor, said, “I think Cole is an amazing young man. He is extremely passionate about agriculture, as well as conservation of natural habitats and protection of our nation's wetlands. I am excited to see what his future holds.”

Most of his classes are located at the McMinn Higher Education Center in Athens. Mr. Prince said, “Cleveland State is close to home and close to where I am training and shooting. I had offers to go out of state, but Tennessee Promise makes it free, and you can’t beat that.”

Mr. Prince graduated from Rhea County High School in 2021; he lives in Monroe County with his parents and younger brother. Mr. Prince comes from a family of educators. His father teaches math at Rhea County High School, his mother teaches first grade in Monroe County and his grandmother is a retired elementary school teacher. 

Along with target sports, Mr. Prince works at the Thousand Hills Farm in Athens as a ranch hand. He builds fences, works cattle, mows hay and does anything else that is needed. 

Cleveland State Associate Professor of Communications Brian Gerber said, “I can tell that Cole is a goal-oriented person who gives his best at whatever he does.”

Mr. Prince hopes to make the 2024 or 2028 Olympic team and be a World Champion in sporting clays. This will take hard work, but Mr. Prince says, “I’m going to put everything I’ve got into it.”

Cole Prince
Cole Prince
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