West attended Booker High School and participated in school dance program and was a member of the track team. As a freshman at WVU, she was named to the second team All-EAGL on floor and vault. She competed on floor and vault in every meet. West had ten top-10finishes on the vault in 12 meets. She won the vault at Rhode Island and was third against Temple and at Utah State. She competed twice on the bars scoring a high at Cal Invite. Nikki had eight top 10 floor finishes and seven scores of 9.7 or higher and four of 9.8 or better with all but one floor routine being 9.5 or better. Her first collegiate victory was against Temple and she followed that with a fifth place against Kentucky and a third against Rhode Island. West placed 10th at EAGL championship and placed second as an all-arounder versus Utah State.

As a sophomore, West improved on all events to become a solid all-arounder. She was also named to the all EAGL first team vault and second team all around and the EAGL all academic team. She participated in seven all around competition in 1997 and was the best vaulter on the team with 9.925 regional average. West landed 10.00 vaults versus Pitt and Rhode Island. She also had four first-place finishes on the vault and scored no lower than a 9.8. She placed second at NCAA Southeast Regional and second at the EAGL Championships. West had three top 10 finishes on bars including a season high versus Rhode Island. She also had seven top 10 showings on beam and placed fourth at EAGL championships. West was the only WVU gymnast to hit every beam routine making 10 of 10. She had a power-packed floor routine which allowed her to have seven top five finishes with the highest being a second place at UNH Invite. She also had a career mark versus Rhode Island which she tied with a seventh place finish at the NCAA Championships. She only had one floor score lower than 9.7 in 11 meets. She had top seven finishes in seven meets as an all-arounder and took second twice and set a career high at the Rhode Island meet.

As a junior, West finished the season as the No. 4 vaulter in the nation. She was also named to the all EAGL first team vault (unanimous selection) and second team all around and the EAGL all academic. She had impressive vault stats with nine firsts and three seconds in 13 meets. Nikki was the EAGL vault champion. She scored the first 10 vault of the season and third of career in the home finale versus George Washington and Rutgers. Nikki opened the season with five consecutive vault wins at George Washington, Pitt, versus New Hampshire, at Towson and home versus Temple. She finished first at Massachusetts and versus Michigan State. Nikki had 11 vaults of 9.8 or higher and five of 9.9 or better. She show most improvement on bars with career high twice. She then went on to have eight top 10 finishes in 12 bar routines with her best finish being a third place versus New Hampshire. However, West struggled on beam, but closed the season with four consecutive hits, four top 10 finishes in nine routines with a season best versus Michigan State. West was the EAGL co-champion on floor tumbling and had 10 top 10 finishes in 13 meets. She had a season high floor score which placed her second versus New Hampshire. West was WVU's top all-around finisher at NCAA Southeast Regional with an eighth place finish.

Returning her senior year, West was one of the top five vaulters in the nation. She had the potential to land a 10 every vault and believed she had a great chance to become an All-American on vault. It was also believed that she had an opportunity to challenge Kristin Quackenbush as top vaulter in school history. She was also a durable gymnast as she competed in every meet her previous three years at WVU, a string of 36 consecutive meets.