team sweet carolina spartan ultimate team challenge

Pictured from left to right: Team Sweet Carolina, comprised of Rana Brooks, Gabriel Arce, Terra Jackson, Daniel Little, and Charlotte Curtis, competed in the season two qualifiers of NBC's Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge.

From climbing 24-feet ropes and traversing muddy terrains to army-crawling under barbed wire, it's just another day at the office for locals Daniel Little and Gabriel Arce.

Both were part of Sweet Carolina, a team comprised of five individuals from North and South Carolina that competed in the season two qualifiers of the hit NBC television show "Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge."

Three from that team hail from Horry County: Little from Conway and Arce from North Myrtle Beach, with fellow teammate Charlotte Curtis from Myrtle Beach. Team captain Terra Jackson and Rana Brooks, both from North Carolina, rounded out the group.

The program pits six teams of five each week in a Spartan race, a series of obstacle courses that combines athleticism and teamwork. Unlike most other Spartan races, however, the show features a dazzling array of obstructions all whilst upping the difficulty.

"We knew it wasn't going to be a traditional Spartan race," Arce said.

Little described the show's courses as "larger than life."

"[There were] huge obstacles that were very good for team-based stuff," Little said. "The bigger, the better."

Arce said he became interested in Spartan races around two years ago.

"I was always an athletic kid...I just got into spartan racing and fell in love with it," Arce said, adding that the "raw" and "muddy" aspects of the races were part of his intrigue.

Though Spartan races can be challenging, Arce said that getting to compete is a lot of fun.

"It lets me be a kid again," Arce said.

At just 22 years of age, Arce was referred to as the team's "young gun" by Little.

Little said he's been competing in Spartan races for the past three-and-a-half years and eventually went on to be ranked within the top 100 male Spartan race competitors in the United States.

An accomplished athlete growing up, Little said a friend got him interested in the races which kickstarted his passion.

"I've been competing ever since," Little said.

Filming for the show took place over roughly one week in Atlanta, which included photoshoots and interviews as well as the actual competition itself. Both Arce and Little said it was great to get to socialize with fellow athletes and meet other Spartan racers.

Arce described the wrapping up of the week-long filming experience as bittersweet.

The training process for the competition beforehand spanned several weeks, Arce and Little said, and combined various different exercises from weight training to cardio.

"Training overall [lasted] anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a week," Little said. "[There was] a lot of running and lot of grip training."

"[The competition] combines a lot of different aspects of fitness," Arce said.

Having studied the show, the Sweet Carolina team often trained on obstacle courses they themselves built, many of which they had seen in prior episodes, including a giant 20-foot slip wall. 

During their training, Sweet Carolina made sure to focus on strengthening their ties as a unit as well.

"A lot of what we worked on was improving our bonds as a team and our teamwork," Arce said.  

Despite the team not advancing to the second round of the competition, both Arce and Little said they plan on continuing to participate in Spartan races in the future.

The two said getting to compete at the highest level and live the "Spartan: UTC" experience was something the members of Sweet Carolina won't forget.

"It was an amazing experience overall," Little said.

"It was like a dream come true," Arce said. "It's something that we'll cherish for the rest of our lives."

The team was featured on episode four of season two which was shown on Monday. The episode can be watched on NBC's website at any time at this link. 

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I'm a reporter for the Myrtle Beach Herald. Want something covered? Call me at 843-488-7258.

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