Out of breath and exhausted, Malcolm Davis and Daniel Groves headed back to their campsite in Yosemite National Park after hiking the 7.2 mile trail Clouds Rest. Groves was tired and looking forward to a night of relaxation, but Malcolm was not done yet. He decided to sprint up Half Dome, as he did not want to miss the views of the sunset he could catch up there. Two hours later, he arrived back at the campsite, stoked about his climb and the sunset.
Business administration junior Malcolm Davis has been missing since June 9, when he went out spearfishing with friends off the North Kohala Coast of Hawaii. His friends and family have spent the past months reflecting on him and his impact on the communities he was a part of.
Davis was a member of the Cal Poly Triathlon Team during his two years at Cal Poly. Jon Harmse, who has been coaching the Cal Poly Triathlon team for five years and has mentored hundreds of athletes in that time, said that Davis was an “extraordinary talent” and an even better teammate.
“He could have gone further than anyone on this team,” Harmse said. “He just had this innate ability, coupled with a desire to constantly learn and grow. He understood himself really well and was able to go on his own path.”
During his two years on the team, Davis qualified twice for the USA Triathlon Nationals race and won the team bike race Tour de Donut. During practices, Davis would train with the “gold” group, the most advanced group, in all three sports. Although Harmse remembers his talent on the course, he said he was often more impressed with who he was as a teammate.
“He was someone that everyone liked,” Harmse said. “We were always stoked when he was around just because he brought such a great attitude and positive energy.”
Davis brought his excitement and passion to his relationships on the team as well, according to his big buddy, which is an older member who is assigned a younger member to mentor, Cole Cummins. He said Davis was the kind of person anyone could talk to and he was always trying to make sure everyone was included and having a good time.
“When I broke my femur I couldn’t go to any of the races, but Malcolm always made sure to FaceTime me when the other buddies were taking photos so that I still felt like I was a part of the team,” Cummins said.
Even before he came to Cal Poly, Davis was a standout athlete. During his high school years, he competed in numerous triathlons, placing eighth at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam. His friend from the youth triathlon circuit, Josiah Randerson, remembers Davis’ competitive spirit.
“I’ve never met someone who was so loving and so driven,” Randerson said. “Everything he did, he did to the best of his ability and then some.”
Davis left “the most positive impact possible” on those he met, according to agribusiness junior Sarah Schulman, a friend he met in elementary school.
“Some people can live 100 years and it feels like they only lived 20; Malcolm only lived 20 but it’s like he lived 100 years,” Schulman said.
Davis was born in Seattle and moved to Hawaii in fifth grade, according to his mom Barbara Davis. Once they were in Hawaii, Davis developed an immediate love for surfing and diving, and he would spend as much time as he could outside, Barbara said.
Davis was the kind of person who could make the people around him appreciate life more and explore everything, Barbara said. He had a way of pushing people to try new things and be in the moment.
“He had a way of rallying people to do things they never thought they could,” Barbara said. “His friends relied on him to get them out of bed and on the trail at 4:30 a.m. to get the best surfing. He did it all with fun and love and people couldn’t help but follow him.”
An Instagram page, @alohaformalcolm, was initially set up to update his friends and family on search efforts. The page now serves as a place for people to share positive memories of Davis.
His family has set up the Malcolm Davis Memorial Fund to honor his memory and donate money to causes he was passionate about, including water safety, high school track restorations and youth scholarships.