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World-class field to compete at Nebelhorn Trophy

Nagasu to square off against Makarova, Gedevanishvili, Helgessons

Mirai Nagasu will compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy for the first time.
Mirai Nagasu will compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy for the first time. (Paul Harvath)

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By Kristin Zinsmeister, special to icenetwork.com
(09/20/2011) - The senior international season kicks off this week with the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, where several world-class skaters will be in action.

Ladies
American Mirai Nagasu kicks off her season in Oberstorf with a good shot at a medal. She will face off against Russia's Ksenia Makarova, the 2010 Russian champion who placed seventh at the 2011 world championships and second at 2010 Skate Canada. Other notable international entries include two-time Olympian Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia and sisters Joshi Helgesson and Viktoria Helgesson of Sweden.

Men's
Czech Republic's Michal Brezina, who placed fourth at worlds last year, is one of the heavy favorites. Also competing in Oberstdorf is 2009 Junior Grand Prix Final champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who placed fourth at last year's NHK Trophy, and Hanyu's teammate, Tatsuki Machida, who looks to defend his title at this event. Reigning Spanish silver medalist Javier Fernandez makes his first career appearance at Nebelhorn after most recently placing 10th at worlds. Max Aaron, the 2011 U.S. junior champion, leads the American men into competition.

Pairs
Russia has two very strong entries at this event, with both Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov and Vera Barazov and Yuri Larinov likely to wind up on the podium. The newly formed American team of Caydee Denney and John Coughlin make their international debut in Germany. They are both U.S. champions with previous partners. Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker, the 2011 U.S. pewter medalists, were forced to withdraw from Nebelhorn due to injury. Taking their place in Germany are Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin. Canada's Jessica Dube and Sebastien Wolfe also make their international debut together in Germany. Dube is a three-time Canadian champion and two-time Olympian with former partner Bryce Davison.

Ice Dancing
The veteran Japanese brother-sister team of Cathy Reed and Chris Reed are set to compete in Germany. Madison Hubbell and Zach Donahue, who joined forces last spring, compete together for the first time internationally. U.S. junior pewter medalists Anastasia Olson and Jordan Cowan make their international senior debut after having competed last fall in the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.