Freshman Connor Gusky merges sports and math to create Sports Analytics Club


Lydia Roseman

Reviewing statistics, freshman Connor Gusky prepares for the next meeting of Sports Analytics Club. Gusky used his love for math and athletics to create a club that predicts the outcome of sporting events. “As a club, we come up with what we want to know and predict which team will win which game because of X, Y and Z,” Gusky said. “I try to make it fun and not over complicated.”

Whether it’s making brackets, dressing in team jerseys, placing bets or attending games and matches, sports fans support their teams in a variety of ways. For some, the love of the sport goes beyond the game. Freshman Connor Gusky combined his passion for sports and math by starting the school’s very first Sports Analytics Club.

“I like school, and I love sports, so I realized that the perfect combination of that is sports analytics,” Gusky said. “I didn’t have any experience with it before, but I figured it out along the way. I talked to the AP Statistics teacher, [Chris] Johnson, and he helped me out and spoke at some of our meetings. I pieced it together by reading a lot of websites, and I even bought a textbook.”

Gusky and his fellow members are still learning the ropes of sports analytics and are not as advanced as professionals, but they are eager to learn.

“My friends and I aren’t that advanced. We recently looked at the SuperBowl, and, looking at a list of the last 20 years, we found which team had the best statistics in total offensive yards. We found that for both the Patriots and the Rams, and we were able to tell who would win,” Gusky said. “It turned out we were wrong, but you can’t win them all. There is definitely a lot of error–math isn’t everything–but we did some calculations with March Madness, and I ended up winning the whole bracket, so it definitely does work a lot of the time.”

Not only has sports analytics given members a greater understanding of the game, but it has also changed the way they watch games both at the stadium or on TV.

“It makes me think about the next level of the game,” freshman Ben Key said. “[Sports analytics] show how sometimes players do things that don’t seem smart, but it’s actually productive to the game.”

Freshman Mason Paul agrees that sports analytics changes the way he watches games and matches, but it also changed his appreciation for the coaches.

“We learned how sports analytics can affect coach decisions and the results of the game,” Paul said. “If a coach looks at a certain player who has only a few amount of yards run throughout the season, the coach will be less likely to play them. It’s an interesting mix of math and sports.”

Thanks to his experience of starting the club, Gusky is considering pursuing sports analytics as a career.

“Every sport is so different in its own way so you’re going to have a huge variety of types of statistics. It would be really interesting to do this as a career,” Gusky said. “It’s exploded at a lot of colleges–Stanford, Washington University–a lot of the top schools are starting sports analytics clubs of their own. Right now it’s a hobby; I get to hang out with my friends and do stuff that I enjoy. I’ve enjoyed the people, the actual math of it, and the combination of it all.”