Troy Dixon enjoys a challenge.

The Egg Harbor Township High School senior catcher didn't look at the quickest path to playing time when looking at colleges.

Dixon's plan was simple: find the best baseball.

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With that in mind, Dixon recently gave a verbal commitment to play NCAA Division I baseball at St. John's University on a partial athletic scholarship.

"I just wanted to put myself in the best situation for baseball," Dixon said. "Going and playing at a program like St. John's will only better my future."

Marist, Long Island University-Brooklyn and Felician College were among the schools also recruiting Dixon.

Dixon was a first-team Press All-Star last season as a junior. He batted .500 (35-for-70) with 18 RBIs and a .576 on-base percentage.

Egg Harbor Township coach Bryan Carmichael said Dixon's athleticism intrigued college coaches.

He's 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and runs the 60-yard dash in under seven seconds. He's going into St. John's as a catcher but already has been told he'll be looked at in the outfield as well.

"It's the best of both worlds," Carmichael said. "He's going to get a good education there and he's going to play good baseball in a good baseball program."

Carmichael said Dixon is a hard worker.

"He's the first one on the field and the last one to leave. He's always asking for extra buckets of batting practice - that pretty much sums it up," the EHT coach said.

St. John's, located in Queens, N.Y., is one of the top baseball programs in the Northeast.

The Red Storm won the Big East regular-season and tournament titles this year and were ranked 15th in the country in Baseball America's final poll of the season.

St. John's beat the University of North Carolina to win the Chapel Hill Regional last season. They went on to lose to eventual College World Series champion Arizona in the Tuscon Super Regional, finishing the season 40-23.

Dixon wasn't guaranteed a starting spot and knows he will have an uphill battle to crack the starting lineup.

That's just fine with him.

"The more competition you have, the better you get," Dixon said. "There is always someone knocking on your door. You can never let down and that will only make you better."

Dixon plays for a couple of area traveling teams but really started to gain the attention of college coaches while playing for a showcase team in a tournament in Neptune, Fla., over the summer.

St. John's four-time Big East coach of the year Ed Blankmeyer has seen 52 of his players drafted or sign professional contracts in his 17 years as coach - an opportunity that Dixon says is his ultimate dream.

"I'm excited," Dixon said. "I'm pumped and ready to play at the next level and get my future started now."

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