MALIBU, Calif. — The No. 5 BYU men’s cross-country team is seeking its second West Coast Conference championship in three years as the Cougars travel to Malibu, Calif., to compete in the conference championship meet Saturday.

“We expect a hard fought meet,” head coach Ed Eyestone said. “Last year it was back and forth and we know it will be tough again this year.”

The Cougars are led by All-American Tylor Thatcher and 2012 All-WCC selection Jason Witt, the top finisher for BYU at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational. Jonathan Nelson has scored in every race this season and is expected to contribute. Aaron Fletcher, Thomas Gruenewald, Steve Flint and Spencer Gardner all figure to be in the mix for scoring spots as well.

“I think if we run our best race, we can win,” Eyestone said. “As long as we do our job things will turn out well for us. We need strong performances on top, and I think Thatcher and Witt are ready to go.”

BYU and the No. 6 Portland Pilots figure to be the top contenders in this year’s championships. The two teams have met twice already this year, on Sep. 14 at the BYU Autumn Classic and Oct. 19 at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational. The Cougars narrowly beat the Pilots on both occasions.

The Cougars have had great success at the conference level, winning conference titles in 10 of the last 14 years, including nine in 12 years in the Mountain West Conference.

The WCC Championships will be broadcast live on the WCC YouTube page and on the WCC website.

After the conference meet, the Cougars head to Ogden, Utah, for the NCAA Mountain Regional Championships on Nov. 15, where they’ll hope to qualify for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind.

Justin Green is the sports information director over men's track and cross country for BYU Athletic Communications. He is a BYU student majoring in public relations and minoring in business and will graduate in April 2013. Email: justinjgreen8@gmail.