Two of the qualities that come to mind when one thinks of former Grizzly volleyball player Quanna Speake Hafer are her strong work ethic and versatility.
“Quanna’s strength was that she was solid all the way around,” Head Coach Trish Kissiar-Knight said of her 5-10 former setter/outside attacker from West Plains, Mo. “You could put her anywhere on the court, and she could play that position. It was great to have someone that sound and capable on our team. She also was such a hard worker. Her leadership by example was one of her most valuable assets.”
Hafer set the tone for the 1996 and 1997 installments of the Grizzly volleyball team by her “do-as-I-do” approach. In the off-season, it was commonplace to find Hafer in the weight room working out to improve her strength. During the season, she would come in early or stay late after practice to improve her skills. “I felt like we owed it to our team to work as hard as we could because a lot of students didn’t have the opportunities we did as student-athletes,” she explained. “And, I tried to encourage the other players to do the same.” That philosophy paid off, as Hafer helped lead the Grizzlies back to the Region 16 Championship game for the fourth and fifth straight times during her two seasons with the squad.
Knight knew she was getting someone special in Hafer. As the coach of the West Plains Zizzers, Knight had seen just what Hafer could do. “She started for me her freshman year, and that says a lot. It’s not every day a coach will start a freshman on a varsity team,” Knight said. At West Plains, Hafer’s contribution continued the trend of excellence established by earlier teams. She was a first-team all-state selection in Class 4A and honored as the South Central Association Conference Player of the Year during her high school career.
Hafer also established a name for herself at Missouri State University-West Plains, earning first-team All-Region honors in 1996 and 1997 and second team All-American honors in 1997. Her totals in several statistical areas remain among the top for Grizzly career leaders and single season leaders. She’s fifth in career assists (1,375), sixth in career service points (584) and attacking percentage (.319), ninth in career aces (77) and 10th in career digs (587). Among single season leaders, she’s eighth in attacking percentage (.378 in 1997) and 10th in assists (659 in 1996).
Hafer graduated from Missouri State University-West Plains with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree in 1998 and transferred to Columbia College in Columbia, Mo., where she helped lead the Lady Cougars to a 85-0 record and two national NAIA Division I Volleyball Championships. In 1999, she was a first-team selection to the America Midwest All-Conference and All-Academic Conference teams, and an honorable mention selection to the NAIA Region V Team. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree from Columbia College in 1999 and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Fitness degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2000.
She and her husband, Jeremy, currently live in Columbia, where she works in pharmaceutical sales for Forest Pharmaceuticals, home-based in New York, and he works as a physician recruiter for Timeline Recruiting in Columbia. Although they have no children now, she said she hopes to start a family in the future.