When this event still existed when I was young enough to compete, we had many of the same complaints as all of you have - this is silly, it doesn't fit in with the rest of the competition, it's too random and unpredictable, there's no way to prepare effectively, the physical parts aren't hard and they don't make sense.
Unfortunately, you realize later in your careers if you stay with science oriented work that all of those things are still irritating and still true. A great deal of your success with those areas is going to be connected to how dexterous and physically capable, albeit in separate ways, that you either are or can become. If you cannot implement your ideas, then they remain ideas.
It's easy - yup. It's going to STAY easy. The rules have always been written such that you need to have teams in and out in under 10-15 minutes. The greater complexity your event supervisor introduces into any tasks, whether they be physical or scientific, risks the chance of having people spend a LOT of time on them or not finish and have to be moved on, which presents scoring problems. The hardest part of this event is DESIGNING something useful. I've been doing it for awhile and it's extremely frustrating.
Too hard to practice? Yes, it was, and it is, and it will be. You don't need to practice or try and anticipate everything they're going to give you to know or do or figure out, because you're not going to be able to get into their heads anyway. But what you CAN practice overall are two things. One, know what they expect you to know, which is at a minimum what you're supposed to know just from school - all your basic math and science. Two, it's a 4 person team event. You should be able to work together, problem solve as a team, and know each other's strengths and weaknesses.
For those of you who are just still pigeon that this event 'replaces' others, Science Olympiad rotates events between divisions and in and out of 'service' all the time. Part of the reason for that is that people just get too good at some things, and also that it's just better to keep everyone fresh and honest.
Good luck to everyone making the trip to Augusta next week!