uictoria1 wrote:However, if history is any guide, first time qualifiers tend to under-perform in their debut at the National Tournament.
I would think that Mason's experience at MIT makes this less of an issue. Also, that usually applies to lower-tier teams. I don't think we've ever seen a situation where a team that's never been to nationals before beats the previous year's second and third place teams.
I fully agree their MIT performance helps them in my estimation. But a lot can change between January and May, especially because invitationals may have a different mix of students competing than actually is on the final state/national team for a school. Additionally, some schools stack during invitational season, while others do not. There are a lot of moving pieces.
I'm always very cautious/skeptical about teams who don't consistently go to Nationals. Look at Mentor High School from last year, who won their state tournament, then fell way behind Solon at Nationals. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why this happened - I don't believe they were missing an key team members at Nationals, for example. Yet they saw a large drop-off in their performance.
I don't expect to see this same slide for Mason, in part because of their strong MIT performance. But I can't see any way in which being new to Nationals helps, and there are many ways it can hurt.