DRIVE DEFINES SUCCESS | Winona golfer Lexi Partington is never satisfied
The day after Winona Senior High School golfer Lexi Partington had just clinched her fourth straight trip to the state tournament by finishing with a two-day score of 151 — good for second place — at the Section 1AAA Tournament, Winhawks girls coach Scott Mlynczak asked Partington how she celebrated or if she reflected on the season so far.
Her reply? Well, it even surprised her coach.
“She says, ‘I went to the range,’” Mlynczak said. “And I was like, ‘you did what?’ She played 18 holes of competition golf and she came back and she wasn’t satisfied with parts of her game, so she decided she was going to go spend three hours at the range.
“That truly epitomizes her and her work ethic, her passion and her dedication to her sport.”
Partington knows how she can and should perform. She knows she can perform at a high level, so she does whatever it takes to insure she does just that. The dedication, the drive to succeed.
Some athletes have it, some don’t. It is what separates the best from the rest. It’s also one of the many reasons why Partington will go down as one of the most accomplished female golfers in school history.
“I have really high standards for myself,” Partington said. “I always want to do the best that I can.”
She can attribute that to growing up in a golf family. Both her grandparents are avid golfers along with her Father, Brad who got her on the course when she was three years old. Her sister Abbe took second at the 1AAA state meet in 2015 before continuing her career at Minnesota State-Mankato. Lexi admits the family gets a little competitive on the golf course.
“Once my sister started to get better at golf, then I was like, ‘I don’t want you to beat me,’” Partington said. “It’s like that good competitive rivalry. We both want to play well. We both want to see each other succeed, but we still have that competitiveness. My whole family too, we even want to beat our Dad and our Grandpa. They just laugh about it, because they want to see us succeed.”
Partington has been on varsity since she was a seventh-grader, before earning four consecutive trips to state starting when she was a freshman. She was on the 2015 Winona team that made it to state snapping a 23-year drought where the finished fourth. She finished career-best tied for 13th last season at state and was set to build on that performance this season. However, that turned out not to be the case, as Partington struggled at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, finishing with a two-day score of 165 to place 32nd.
“I don’t know, my game just wasn’t on,” said Partington who was still a finalist for the Ms. Minnesota golf award. “The putts weren’t falling, but I hit my irons well and my tee ball wasn’t bad. I don’t know it just didn’t go very well.”
“It just wasn’t meant to be obviously.”
Even though Partington didn’t end like she wanted she is ready for her next chapter. That chapter is her continuing her golf and academic career at Concordia-St. Paul where she could potentially face off against her sister in NSIC play. She admitted she was sold by Golden Bears coach Taylor Rodriguez, finding a quick connection to her.
“I really like the coach,” Partington said. “It was a big push of why I wanted to go there. I wanted someone who I knew I would be able to be with for four years not only as a person but also my golf game.”
Meanwhile coach Mlynczak believes she is more than capable at not only performing at the next level, but also thriving.
“The biggest thing is that dedication to the game,” Mlynczak said. “I talk a lot with our seniors, as they embark on their senior year, we talked about what legacy you are going to leave behind. What I think she has left behind is valuable and important. Her leadership qualities and her ability to gather and bring people together is going to be important. Her golfing is what is really going to draw people in. People are going to want to be around her.”
“It’s going to be different challenges, different balances, but I’m more than confident in her abilities that she is going to find success at that next level and continuing to do things the Lexi Partington way.”
Partington is looking forward to that next chapter in St. Paul, but there is no doubt she will miss her time as Winhawk, more specifically coach Mlynczak.
“He’s just been such a huge figure in my life that it’s hard to leave,” Partington said. “But he definitely is not going to be out of my life, he is still always going to be there.”