PROVO, Utah -- After polling all nine men's cross-country coaches in the conference, the West Coast Conference announced BYU is the pre-season favorite to win the conference championship.

The Cougars earned seven first-place votes and 63 points overall in the preseason poll. The University of Portland ranked second with two first-place votes, followed by the University of San Francisco in third and Gonzaga in fourth.

BYU also led the conference with five runners named to the Preseason All-West Coast Conference team. Those five are senior Rex Shields; juniors Tylor Thatcher, Jared Ward and Jason Witt; and sophomore Steve Flint.

Last year, the Cougars' inaugural season in the WCC, the team won its first WCC cross-country championship.

Mason Porter is a Sports Information Director for BYU Athletic Communications. Contact him at