Alma, Mich. - Mason Ippel '20 didn't want to break the cycle of Alma College students who have won the Tom Renner Student Sports Information Award in recent years.
That's why Ippel, of Jenison, was happy to be the recipient of this year's award, which honors the top student sports information assistants from across the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). Alma College students have won the award seven times since 2010, including the past six consecutive years.
"Alma has pretty much carried this award for the MIAA since I've been at the college, so I definitely wanted to keep that going," Ippel said with a laugh.
"Seriously, being able to be recognized for the work we put in — I consider this sort of a team award — was really nice. We take pride in everything we do and want to do it the best we can, because we know that not all of our fans can make it out to games."
Students who work in the sports information office are given responsibility to handle the day-to-day details for some of the Scots' teams. Behind every game program, photo, story, social media post and video is the hard work of students learning their craft, Ippel said.
Ippel was involved in sports information for all of his four years at Alma, mostly during the winter and spring seasons. He was the main student point of contact for wrestling and baseball, and accompanied the Scots' baseball team on their annual trip to Florida in 2020.
Among Ippel's specific responsibilities, he said, were writing and distributing game-day flyers — which contain rosters and narratives about student-athletes involved in a given game — to coaches and fans, setting up the press box before games, ensuring the needs of officials were met on game day, inputting statistics and writing game recaps for almascots.com.
"There's so much that goes into a game, and sports can't go on without any one person. That was something big that I learned in my time at Alma," Ippel said. "As a student-athlete, I really appreciate all the work that goes into every game — from sports information to media to fan experience to the officials. It really is a team effort."
In addition to working in the sports information department, Ippel played four years on the Scots' football team as a quarterback.
"Mason is an exceptional person and was an outstanding student-athlete at Alma," head football coach Jason Couch said. "He is passionate about Alma College and puts that same enthusiasm into everything he does. He was a great teammate and leader on the football field.
"It's very appropriate for Mason's hard work to be recognized through the Tom Renner Award," Couch continued. "We will miss all that Mason has done for Alma College. I'm looking forward to hearing about all his future successes."
Ippel, who majored in mathematics and minored in computer science as a student, graduated in spring 2020. He intends to pursue a career in sports analytics.
"Going to Alma was the best decision I ever made," Ippel said. "It's a great school with a great community behind it. I made some incredible friends and other great relationships that will last forever. Being able to play football and getting involved in sports information was especially rewarding. I had fun coming into work every day, and that's all anyone can really ask for."
The award, named in honor of longtime MIAA publicist and Hope College sports information director Tom Renner, has in previous years gone to Alma College alumni Emily Jodway '19, of Lansing (2019), Harrison LaLone '18, of Shepherd (2018), Ali Holmquist '17, of Canton (2017), Brad Vannatter '16, of Tecumseh (2016), Grace Wheeler '15, of St. Ignace (2015) and Brent Willis '10, of Edmore (2010). You can read about their accomplishments here: http://almascots.com/information/renneraward