Tournament takes lots of planning

Friday, December 28, 2007

When Tom Allen retired as the director of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament, after 23 years, people didn't jump to take his place.

"There weren't people waiting in line," said Mitch Wood, Oran superintendent and Allen's replacement.

The challenges are numerous: coordinating 16 teams, creating seeds, scheduling officials, finding sponsors and printing programs, not to mention staying impartial.

For two days, Wood has been working the tournament from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and has two more days before he's finished.

Planning began last spring, and so far the event has run smoothly, said Wood, who is also Oran's baseball coach. Last year he was the tournament's assistant director.

He said the tournament is a great way for schools of all sizes to showcase their skills.

"A lot of people complain about smaller schools participating, but for a lot of kids it's their only chance to play in a college venue," he said.

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