Aside from the three top seeds, here are more local standouts who could make some noise tonight:
South Brunswick's Cayla Del Piano, girls 1600: Don't let the seed fool you; the senior is ranked 16th at 5:02.79 but has run six seconds faster, which would put her right near the head of the pack. She is scratching from the 800 (2:15.72, No. 17 seed) but will run on the Vikings' eighth-seeded 4×400 (3:54.14). For the record, the last Middlesex County girl to win an MOC distance race was J.P. Stevens legend Janet Smith, who captured the 1600 and 3200 in 1984.
Franklin's Kyaira Wright-Harmon, girls jumps: The senior leaning toward an ambitious triple in the high jump (tied for the second seed, 5-6), long jump (fifth, 18-4) and triple jump (ninth, 38-10). In the high jump she cleared 5-9 this season and won the MOC indoors, but West Deptford's Megan Kirschling just went over 5-10.5. Though Wright-Harmon is less established in the horizontal jumps, her marks at the Group IV meet were personal bests and within a foot of the leader. Somerset County's last triple-winner at the MOC was Franklin's Jenna Harris (100, 200, long jump) in 2003.
Franklin's Chris Staton, boys shot put: The senior is technically the No. 2 seed at 60-9, but has thrown 64-1 and becomes a strong favorite with the news that Days, the top seed and a 70-footer, has scratched due to injury. Interestingly, only one Somerset County athlete, boy or girl, has won an MOC throwing gold: Somerville's Marion Easley in the 2005 boys javelin.
Rahway's one-two punch: The Indians could bring home two gold medals. Senior Jamel-Bolden Presley is the top seed in the boys 100 hurdles (13.92), though Trenton star Jermaine Collier might be considered the favorite. Senior Jerrel Wilson is the second seed in the boys 400 (48.58). All told the program has produced an impressive eight MOC winners.
Feel-good story: Less than a year after undergoing ACL surgery, Carteret sophomore Ciara Alston qualified for the girls 200 with a sixth-place time of 25.91 in Group II.
Other local contenders: Linden's Jonathan Petit-Homme in the boys 400 hurdles (second seed, 53.24), Franklin's Danielle Delgado in the girls 100 hurdles (fifth, 14.43), South Brunswick's Lindsay Carbone in the girls pole vault (tied for fifth, 11-0), Piscataway's Brionna Pettus in the girls 400 (seventh, 56.96), East Brunswick's Donald Urschel in the boys 100 dash (eighth, 10.93), Sayreville's Amari Hartsfield in the girls 100 dash (eighth, 12.48), Piscataway in the girls 4×100 (sixth, 48.88) and Franklin in the boys 4×400 (eighth, 3:20.50).