Senior Breck Fresen has had a perpetual “runner’s high” throughout his career at Carnegie Mellon, excelling on the cross country course in the fall and the racetrack in the spring, as well as in the classroom and with extracurriculars. Fresen concluded his final collegiate cross country season at the NCAA Championship held Saturday with a 145th finish, the third-best finish for the Tartans at this year’s national meet. Although Fresen runs 80 miles a week, The Tartan was able to catch up with him to chat about his experience as a computer science major at Carnegie Mellon and representing the Tartans in athletic competition.

The Tartan: What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of majoring in computer science?
Fresen: The hardest part about CS is that it introduces a lot of abstract concepts. I’ve never walked out of a business or H&SS class saying, “I have no idea what happened in there,” but I find myself doing that on a regular basis with many of my CS classes. I also have to force myself to perform regular reality checks, especially when I’m in the cluster. I guess I feel a lot like Jim in The Office. I see my classmates do and say things that make me look around for someone else to confirm that what just happened was not normal.
The strangest thing I’ve probably seen was a guy with a desktop computer and monitor, plugged in, in a UC bathroom stall while he sat on the toilet with the door open and pants down. That took a couple of minutes to shake off.

T: What was your inspiration in creating your website, Mave, which led you to win the Tepper Challenge as a first-year in 2005? Do you have any plans to develop another similar, or different, website in the future?
F: Mave was a website I worked on two years ago with three other guys on the cross country team. It was motivated by a desire to make finding service providers more convenient. I don’t know that Mave will be making a come back any time soon, but I’m currently working with one of the Mave guys on a site that will be debuting next semester. It’s going to be a fun, social site for creating top 10 lists. Keep an eye out for it.

T: If you could work in any city in the world, where would you go and why?
F: Chicago! It’s home.

T: Is there any certain meal that you like to cook or eat before or after a race?
F: I eat a dangerous amount of cereal. I eat that before and after races. I’d eat it during the race too if they made cereal boxes with handles. The key is to keep the Cracklin’ Oat Bran to a minimum during racing weeks.

T: Has there been an aspect of competing in cross country at Carnegie Mellon that has been particularly rewarding for you?
F: Competing with friends has and always will be the best part. The postseason is always fun too. There isn’t anything quite like cross country November.

T: What would you do with your winnings if you won the lottery?
F: I don’t need much to be happy. I’d probably give most of it away — maybe build an indoor track facility for CMU? I’d also move out of the basement and into an apartment with windows.

Although the cross country season is over for Fresen, he will next compete for the Cardinal and Gray this spring on the track and field team with the first event scheduled for Jan. 17.