Hairston attended Columbus Alternative High School and performed for Eastern Columbus Gymnastics Academy. She competed in the Level 10 Nationals in 1991 and 1992. She also competed in Level 9 competition in 1990. As a freshman at WVU, she capped an outstanding season by being named the Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year and the team's most valuable gymnast. She was also voted to the All-Conference team by coaches for her performance on the uneven bars. Hairston also enjoyed an outstanding Atlantic 10 championship performance where she shared first place honors on the balance beam with three other gymnasts. She also tied for second on bars and finished third in the all around and posted a season-best floor score at the NCAA Southeast Regional.

Her sophomore year, she established career highs in the vault and all around and was accorded first team All-Atlantic 10 honors on the uneven bars for the second consecutive year by the conference coaches. Hairston also tied for first place honors on the vault with three other teammates against Towson State. She finished first overall on the bars and all-around in the Mountaineers win over Kent State and in a win over Arizona. Hairston also finished fourth overall at the Atlantic 10 Championships on bars and all-around. Her junior year, she was named the Atlantic 10 Gymnast of the year along with teammate Kristin Quackenbush. She was also Atlantic 10 All-Academic in addition to being team captain and winning the team's most valuable gymnast—the Joseph Medrick award honoree. That year, she was the Mountaineers' top all-arounder and paced WVU on the vault and on balance beam. She ranked second on the team on the floor and third on bars. She had 14 first place finishes to her credit that season. However, she missed the season opener with minor injuries but was able to compete in every meet after that. She won the beam in her frist meet against Oregon State and Rhode Island while also placing fifth on floor and fifth all around against OSU and URI. She won the vault against Towson State and took sixth on the beam and had a great meet against Temple where she posted tow firsts in the vault and beam and a second on the floor. Hairston won the vault and took sixth on the bars at UMass before an injury forced her to withdraw from the final two events. She also tied a career high with a first place beam performance against Pitt and Massachusetts and also took second on the floor, third on the bars, and fourth on the all round against Pitt and UMass. She won the all-around competition against Penn State and Kent and her marks included a career high-tying first place on beam, a second place on the vault and fifth on the floor. At the LSU Invitational, she took second on the vault and placed fourth in the all around. Hairston broke the school record on bars versus Rutgers and nearly posted a rare sweep with four firsts on the vault, bars, beam and all-around and took fourth on the floor. The marks on the bars, beam and floor were all career highs.

She had stellar Atlantic 10 Championships with a second place, career high all-around performance. Her marks included a first place, career high on the vault a second place record-tying first place on the bars, second place and career high on the beam and a fourth place floor routine. She finished ninth in all-around at the Southeast Regional while tying for fifth on the vault and eight on the beam. She was WVU's top all-arounder at the NCAA championships. She finished 25th and just missed All-American status on vault with an 18th place finish. Returning her senior year, she was team captain along with Kristin Quackenbush, an All-America candidate, EAGL honors candidate, academic All-America and EAGL candidate.