From rascal to reliable, Hilo High grad Corpuz finds comfort zone at Peninsula

  • Tribune-Herald file photo Hilo alum Caneel “Booboo” Corpuz, a four-time all-BIIF soccer selection, signed to play at juco power Peninsula College.

Caneel “Booboo” Corpuz is going from one powerhouse to another and will find herself surrounded by familiar faces.

The recent Hilo High graduate signed to play soccer at Peninsula College, a junior college perennial conference title contender in Port Angeles, Wash.

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Recent Waiakea gradates Keeli-Jade Smith and Tayvia Cabatbat signed to play basketball with the Pirates, and recent Kamehameha graduate Nique Pacheco signed to play basketball at nearby Edmonds.

Corpuz will also be reunited with former Viking teammate Miya Clarke, a 2019 graduate.

“I was really excited and happy to have the opportunity on signing with Peninsula, and I also felt comfortable because I know some people who are there and who are going there,” said Corpuz, who will major in health science and hopes to become a paramedic.

Corpuz was scouted by Pirates coach Kanyon Anderson at an ID camp on Oahu. He later had a soccer session with her club team, the Chicas.

With the Vikings, Corpuz was a BIIF champion as a sophomore after transferring from Waiakea, a runner-up as a junior and senior, and she was a four-time all-BIIF selection. The bar is a lot higher at Peninsula, which finished with a 21-1 record in 2019 and captured its third Northwest Athletic Conference championship.

“I heard of Peninsula’s success from coach Kanyon and Miya,” Corpuz said. “Miya told me she loves it up there. The soccer girls are really nice, the people are really cool and fun to hang out with.

“I am very excited to play with Miya again. We have a good connection playing together, and she is like an older sister to me.”

At 5 feet 1, Corpuz isn’t the biggest defender, but she’s fast and fearless. She’s perfect for a team that plays a fast-tempo transition attack. Even better, she never thinks about her size.

“Size was never something I worried about,” she said. “I just focused on the game and putting my skills to work.”

Her dream school is Oregon State because of its health program and gorgeous environment. Peninsula’s website lists a long sheet of players who have moved on. If Corpuz hooks on with the Beavers, she would be the first to play at the Corvallis campus.

Until then, she’ll focus on self-improvement and catch a few basketball games with old friends.

“My goal is to be a successful student and athlete at a college level while growing to be an independent and self-sufficient young woman,” she said. “I plan on watching Nique Pacheco and Keeli Smith, whom I went to elementary school with. I heard they are big ballers.”

As the youngest of five girls, Corpuz was tagged Booboo by her grandmother.

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“When I was very young, I was a rascal and would only listen when she called me Booboo,” Corpuz said. “Then it just became the name I was better known by.”

She is scheduled to leave July 26, and when she arrives she’ll be greeted by a warm BIIF reunion.

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