So I was at all but one freeroll this Spring. People keep forgetting that there were only 5. 5 DAYS. Or else they don't know how important practice, or lack thereof, is.
Buggy is an incredibly complex event. If it were easy they'd do it at Pitt. (Yes, I know they had something like buggy. where is it now?) Why only 5 days? Because weather. (Yammer all you want about Spring Break, lack of commitment, then look back. 3 of 4 would have been cancelled.)
Cajoling, threatening ordering people out at 5am is difficult. Doing it when it is on average 10 degrees colder for this March, even more so. Now put running a team all together for Race Day. Easy, peasy? Driving is hard to learn, driving at speed more so. Now get up to speed in 5 days. that's ~15 rolls. Oh, and one is a pass test (if you're lucky). Oh, and bag your first roll. Pushing is awkward. Outside the normal learning curve of the biomechanics, you've got mechanical issues with the teams learning/relearning there buggies. Sometimes the buggy rolls fast...and sometimes it doesn't even come around.
Now it's midnight in Pittsburgh. In March. and it's raining. Again. Check the historicals. We had minimal Push Practices, usually also weather related. The only way to learn to push is to push. Not weight training, stairs, etc. The Hill times can be there, but if the exchange isn't good, there goes a second here, a second there. Even teams who have in the past, of course, practiced off campus (gasp) would have been screwed. It was that nasty this year. [Another pro-tip: Xootr-type wheels SUCK in the wet. Even in the "moist". It's the Urethane. That's why the decision to race early in the a.m. this was so disastrous, and avoidable.]
So, kudos, IMO, to teams for NOT blowing up their wheels to warp speed, and then pushing as well as they did with minimal practice.