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West Ranch's More than an Athlete: Chase Malynn

Malynn rallied West Ranch's baseball team to work with the community

Posted: June 15, 2014 9:09 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2014 9:09 p.m.

West Ranch's Chase Malynn orchestrated his high school's hosting of nearly 50 Special Olympians.

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Editor’s note: Today marks the sixth in a series in which we recognize athletes at the local high schools who represent their respective schools not so much by what they do on the field, but off of it. We call them “More than an athlete.”

The email arrived, and Chase Malynn called his parents up to his bedroom.

They would open it up as a family.

The same college Todd and Michelle Malynn worked so hard to get into was now giving their son an answer as to if he would follow in their footsteps.

Click. Open. Read.

No.

The answer was no.

And as a family, the Malynns cried.

Chase is probably too well-mannered, too kind, too understanding to say it’s their loss.

But this is what that school is missing out on.

*****

Chase Malynn just finished his fourth year in the West Ranch High baseball program and his first on the varsity squad.

West Ranch head baseball coach Casey Burrill was blunt with Malynn before the start of the season. He’d receive no other promise other than a uniform.

“I can’t relate. I couldn’t play a sport under those circumstances that I wasn’t going to be a starter or have something on the backend,” Burrill says understanding that being a bench guy is a difficult pill to swallow.

“I’m not one who takes no for an answer,” Malynn says. “It motivated me. It was more of a challenge. He put a bar I would have to climb above.”

Burrill says Malynn is a unique person — and by unique, there is no one like him.

“He is truly the nicest most mature kid I have ever met,” Burrill says.

Ever?

“Ever,” he repeats.

Malynn ended up with 36 plate appearances his senior year and played in 18 of the Wildcats’ 27 games.

The nice and mature thing had only a little to do with Malynn having about 30 more plate appearances than he was destined to have.

It was more other attributes that earned him the playing time — dependability, drive and dedication.

As a child, Malynn knew there was a standard.

Todd, an attorney, and Michelle, a marketing manager, established the importance of grades with their son at an early age.

“We expected him to work hard, get good grades,” Michelle says. “But he was always motivated in that sense. But he didn’t rebel, so that tells me it’s in his heart to do things right.”

In his four years of high school, Malynn was a National Honor Society officer at West Ranch, a member of the California Scholastic Federation, was the founding captain at the school for Action Team — a national youth volunteer program, and a peer leader at Our lady of Perpetual Help Catholic church in Newhall.

Malynn hates to admit it, but the motivation to get active in the community was based on his own need and not that of others’.

“I’m not going to lie. My freshman year you sign up for programs like NHS, and I was going through confirmation, you have to fill out a certain number of hours of community service,” Malynn says. “At first it was filling boxes (on volunteer forms) and making numbers. But once I established that footing in community service I fell in love. My passion is getting people to fall in love with helping people in the community.”

He did that for his entire baseball team last September.

Being the leader of the Action Team, he wanted to link a volunteer effort with his baseball team.

Burrill agreed, but he told Malynn that his hands were full and that the student/athlete had to organize it and execute it.

The idea was to bring Santa Clarita Special Olympics athletes to West Ranch High and conduct a baseball clinic/game.

Malynn had volunteered for Special Olympics in the past, but he had another connection that motivated him.

His cousin Nick has Down syndrome.

Michelle says her son has always connected well with her nephew.

“When you’re growing up and in elementary school and junior high, there are the special education classes next door. People crack jokes (about the kids in the classes). You don’t understand it till you’re connected with someone with Down syndrome (or another special need),” Malynn says. “It’s like any other characteristic. Nick is one of my favorite people to be around. I just wanted to find an event for people to connect to and have relationships with people with special needs.”

Nearly 50 Special Olympians participated in the event, necessitating the use of the adjacent softball field.

Malynn’s lasting memory was of an Olympian named Spencer who slid into home plate on the hard, packed dirt. Spencer then cracked a giant smile.

“It was fantastic,” Burrill says of the event. “Honestly I was upset with myself that I hadn’t done it earlier. It took someone like Chase to show me. I’d never done this, and I’m 44. Honestly, I’m embarrassed.”

*****

Malynn cleaned house at the school’s annual senior awards night.

Scholar award, leadership award, award for being an NHS officer, award for having the baseball team’s highest GPA (4.39), Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation scholarship award.

Malynn will be going to the University of Texas at Austin this fall to study electrical engineering.

Though he is elated to be going to the school, it wasn’t his first choice.

That school turned him down.

That’s their loss.

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