I hope you had a great time with the pitch contest over the weekend! For me, the most helpful part was figuring out which elements of my story needed to be in a pitch. What did someone need to know to be hooked? I feel like I have something that can be expanded to fit into a query.
I'm also going to start playing with it to figure out how it would sound spoken aloud. Over the weekend, Tess (who just signed her contract with Farrar, Straus & Giroux this weekend) raised a point about how we need to have a more conversational version in mind as well: