Coaching Staff

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Cara Heads Slaughter, OLY, M.A., Founder, Head Coach

Cara Heads Slaughter is one of the most sought-after weightlifting coaches in the DC metro region providing guidance to over 100 athletes and coaches each week. Certified as a USAW International Coach, Cara has served as a competition coach at every level- local, national and international, including as a coach at the 2016 USA Olympic Team Trials. Athletes under Cara's guidance have earned numerous medals at national and international competitions. Additionally, Cara is certified as a IWF Coach Course Instructor and a USAW Coach Course Lead Instructor. Cara has been appointed by USA Weightlifting to assist at numerous USAW training camps, as a Team Leader and Team Coach of international teams, and as a presenter at the USAW Coaching Symposium.

Cara enjoyed a successful 18-year career as an elite weightlifter, earning 2 junior and 8 senior national championship titles, setting numerous junior and senior American records, and representing Team USA at 6 world championships and as a member of the 2000 USA Olympic Team in Sydney. In recognition of her career, Cara was inducted into the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 2020.

Throughout her career, Cara was provided the unique opportunity to train at top USA Weightlifting regional weightlifting training centers, including as a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center, and to learn from some of the most respected weightlifting coaches in the United States- Tony Ciarelli, Michael Cohen, Bob Morris, and Dr. Kyle Pierce.


Prior to competing in the sport of Weightlifting full time, Cara was a Division I collegiate athlete, earning an athletic scholarship at the University of California, Berkeley. As a freshman, Cara competed in the discus and hammer throw, placing third in the hammer at the (Pac-10) track & field conference championships. 


Coaching and Competition Resume

Christine Cardwell, Coach, Operations

Christine has competed in the sport of Weightlifting for several years, setting numerous Masters local weightlifting committee records, and earning medals nationally and internationally as a Masters athlete.


Certified as a USAW Level 2 Coach, Christine oversees the day-to-day operations of CHFP as well as serve as an assistant coach during training, clinics and camps.

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Conor Lynch, Coach, Mobility

Conor has competed and coached in almost every sport under the sun, from baseball and swimming to football and golf. 


In the past five years he has focused on strength and conditioning, accumulating over 4,000 hours of coaching experience with youth, adult, amateur and competitive athletes. 


A CrossFit Level 2 Trainer with certifications in mobility, kids programs and sports performance, you can most often find him staring at you across the room wondering why your shoulder is at such an awkward angle and how he can fix it.

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Sarah Samad, CSCS, Coach, Programming

Sarah is a USAW Level 2 Coach and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Sarah coached Division I strength and conditioning for 5 years at schools such as Virginia Tech and University of Maryland. Sarah has been competing in weightlifting since 2014, following competitive experience in bodybuiding and powerlifting


Sarah assists with the CHFP Youth Development Program and is responsible for developing strength and conditioning programming for CHFP athletes.

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Aaron Cunanan, PhD, CSCS, Coach, Programming

Dr. Aaron Cunanan has over a decade of experience with Olympic-style weightlifting as an athlete and coach.  Aaron competed in weightlifting at the national level for several years, and served as an assistant coach under Dr. Kyle Pierce at the USA Weightlifting Center for High Performance and Development in Shreveport, La., from 2011 through 2016. 

Aaron is currently an assistant coach at the designated Olympic Training Site for weightlifting at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) where he successfully completed his doctoral studies in the Sport Physiology and Performance PhD program.

He received his master's degree in kinesiology and wellness from Louisiana State University Shreveport (LSUS) in 2012.  In addition to his current coaching duties, Aaron is a member of the sports science staff at ETSU. His research includes biomechanics of weightlifting, adaptation to resistance training, and athlete monitoring. Aaron resides in Johnson City, Tenn., with his wife and their three children.


Certified by USAW as a Advanced Sports Performance Coach (Level 2), Aaron is responsible for developing the strength and weightlifting programming for CHFP national and international-level athletes.

Heather Krause, CHFP Weightlifting Team Coordinator

Heather has competed in the sport of Weightlifting for several years, competing nationally and internationally as a Masters athlete. 


Heather is certified as a USAW Level 1 Coach and 

coordinates all CHFP Weightlifting team activities at local competitions as well as manage and support Masters-age team members competing nationally and internationally.

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Open Workout Coaching Staff

Coach Carrie Evavold

USAW Level 1 Coach

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Coach Evy Voltaire

USAW Level 1 Coach

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CHFP Athlete Care Provider

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Sarah Houhoulis, DC

Dr. Sarah Houhoulis provides chiropractic and wellness services to CHFP athletes in support of our athlete care program. Dr Sarah graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in San Jose, California after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology from James Madison University. She is a certified Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism coach, and has completed numerous Herman Wallace courses for treating pelvic floor dysfunction.


Dr. Sarah grew up dancing but discovered powerlifting in chiropractic school, and now competes as an elite-level powerlifter. Dr. Sarah holds the Virginia and national record for the bench press, and the Virginia records for squat and total in her weight class.


Training and competing has given Dr. Sarah an understanding of the necessity of exercise as a treatment for physical, mental and emotional conditions. Dr. Sarah utilizes techniques learned from Herman Wallace Institute for Pelvic Rehabilitation, chiropractic, sports psychology, physical therapy, exercise science, and nutrition science to customize treatment plans for her patients. Along with prescribing specific exercises, Dr. Sarah applies chiropractic therapy, dry needling, Active Release Technique, mobility and stability training, and breathing techniques to help her patients recover as quickly as possible.


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