In 1985, Kate O’Hern set the Penn women’s track record in the outdoor 1,500 meters; it held until 2006, when it was finally broken. In 1984, O’Hern set the program mark in the indoor and outdoor 800; both of those held until last year (in the case of the outdoor, barely...as in 3/100ths of a second). In 1985, O’Hern established the Penn record in the indoor mile; it still stands, 23 years later, and in fact no one has come within three seconds of her time. Add in the records she set in the indoor 1,000 -- since topped four times -- and the outdoor mile, and a trio of records with various relay teams, and you have yourself a Hall of Fame career.
Kate emerged on the scene as a freshman in 1983, as part of Penn’s 4x800 relay team that won Heps with a record time that was the standard in that event for seven years. A year later, she won the 800 at Outdoor Heps with a time that shattered the previous conference mark by more than three seconds. Kate repeated that title in 1985, and also notched indoor 1,500 titles in 1985 and 1986.
A two-time captain, Kate was a member of two Outdoor Heptagonal team champions -- 1985 and 1986 -- and the Quakers swept their Ivy competition four other times at Heps (finishing second to Army each time). On the national level, Kate competed at the NCAA Championships twice in the 800, and in 1992 she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in New Orleans in the 1,500.
You might say Kate has Penn in her blood: her father was a faculty member of Penn’s Orthodontics School for more than 50 years, while her mother graduated from the School of Nursing. Both of Kate’s brothers have Penn degrees. As for Kate, she remains active with the University as a member of the Trustees Council of Penn Women (TCPW).