There were 42 competitors who completed Round One. Twenty were selected to go to Round Two, along with five others who received byes for winning their regions.
Belle was #25 overall after the first round with 563 points out of a possible 900. The leader in round one, Billy Wilson (2nd in finals) had 835 points, which we believe was the highest ever recorded by a US barista (hoping to confirm that tomorrow).
She would have needed 604 to have made the cut for the semi-finals. 41 more points. Not all that much, considering Belle had at least a 20 point penalty for going over the 15 minute time limit, perhaps 40 (we haven't seen her individual scoresheet yet). So all in all, a great showing. Something to be proud of and to build upon.
But the guy we really feel sorry for is Karl Smeltzer of Hotwire in Seattle. Karl earned 603 points in Round One. But he needed one half point more to make the cut. Lorrie Mahieu of Trabant Chai Lounge made it instead with 603.5 points.
It's only going to get more difficult from here. This year there were six possible byes (one entrant declined her bye). Next year there may be as many as 10 automatic byes if each region holds its own competition. And more cafes will enter. This year's 47 contestants represented only 14 states and the capital: CA (5), DC (2), ID (1), IL (6), KS (2), MA (3), MD (2), MO (1), NC (10), NE (1), NJ (1), NY (1), OR (1), PA (2), WA (9). We fully expect at least 25 states to be represented next year as the demand for better coffee spreads across the nation.