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WILLIAMSTOWN, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey high school wrestler forced by a referee to cut his dreadlocks before a match to avoid a forfeit has returned to competition.

Andrew Johnson wrestled Saturday for the first time in more than two weeks. The Buena Regional student lost by a 6-2 decision to Clayton/Glassboro wrestler Jaden Hinton in a 120-pound bout that opened a tournament.

Johnson had his dreadlocks cut minutes before a match Dec. 19. Johnson, who is black, had a cover over his hair, but referee Alan Maloney, who is white, said that wouldn’t do.

Community Doesn’t Hold Back In Defense Of Wrestler Forced To Cut Hair In Emergency Meeting

Maloney hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

Johnson, who still wears his hair in short, thin dreadlocks, wrestled Saturday without a hair cover. It wasn’t clear if he had to make any adjustments to stay within the rules.

(©Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)