Note, the event was never 'intended' to be a precision timed, it was 'intended' to be build on site. Unfortunately the rules didn't implement that intent. If it had been foreseen to need this level of precision to distinquish results, the rules would have been changed. While it is possible to time to thousands of a second as discussed on this forum, the results would still have reflected random chance, NOT student expertise. As already mentioned, students reaction in dropping the ball to a prompt had error larger than a tenth of a second which covered multiple otherwise perfect teams!
Oh, and how did you time with a video to ten thousandths of a second? Normal frame rate is 30 frames per second, that's only good to 3 hundredths. Did you have a highspeed video? 10000 frames per second? You can get that kind of precision with audio, but not normal video.
OK, lesson learned, new rules for next year will hopefully get this event where it was intended, a build on site event which challenges students to prepare engineered solutions in advance, bring a plan of attack to the contest, but to react to 'surprises' the day of the event.
For next year:
The Junkyard contents will be specified for the students. Students provide the materials up to what will fit in a standard box along with all tools for impound. The items will be common, low cost materials, plates, straws, toothpicks, etc. Students provide junkyard contents to fill the box. No pre-assembly.
The tasks will be generically pre-specified with some degree of variation you only learn on site, but nothing like the unknown material of several years back.
The tasks break down into two broad categories. Structures and materiel movers. Students will learn which general task they must execute and its specific parameters at the tournament.
Scoring will be open ended efficiency type measures. No such thing as a perfect score like last year. No need for levels of precision which guanrantee random selection of the winner.
I'm not going to get more specific as the rules are still in draft and may change, but not hugely from that overview.